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The North Star Academy - Philadelphia

| 12/16/2019

Owners: Jackson Galka

Martial Art: BJJ, MMA, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Boxing

How did you choose your school name?

I wanted something that summed up our entire mission, and also was bigger than just me. Although I teach most of the classes (for now), the gym is not about me--it's about the collective sum being greater than the total of its parts.

What is your school's mission statement or student creed?

Our mission is to be a bright anchor in each of our students' lives, something that they can always look to. The North Star serves the same purpose. Although we are all going in different directions, we can use the same light for guidance. Throughout my 15 years of training in mixed martial arts, I've always been able to use the lessons I've picked up on the mats, in the cage, and in the ring, to help me make the right decisions and keep me centered. I want to share that experience with my students and provide them a positive and constructive environment in which they can be challenged and grow.

How long have you been teaching?

12 years.

Who or what inspires you?

Although it may sound a little negative, I'm really motivated and inspired by my realization that there is always more that can be done. More growth, more value, more amenities. I am 100% committed to the academy as both an instructor and business owner and every decision I make starts with the question "is this going to add value to the students' experience?"

What is something special or unique about your school and/or students?

We are extremely diverse--not just in demographics, but in skill levels, fitness levels, and goals. Yet we all come together and help each other advance in our personal endeavors. It's amazing watching the students help each other.

What made you choose FUJI Mats for your facility?

Simply put, I wanted to build the best gym possible, so I chose the best mats and gear possible.

What is the most rewarding part about working in the martial arts field?

Empowering people. It's all about student empowerment.

If you could give one piece of advice to other martial art school owners what would it be?

Learn the business, but temper it with ethics. Let your moral compass guide your business decisions. You'll never regret taking the high road.

Also--learn how to market, and learn how to sell! Sometimes people need a push, so understand how to communicate with your prospective students and speak to them in their language. They are not experts at martial arts like you--you have to put yourself in the shoes of someone looking to change their life for the better. Sometimes it's easy to forget that and stay only in our own heads.

Photos of the North Star Courtesy of 

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