Supporting Athletes Through Networking
A Novel Approach to
By Uma Outka
Gail Stolzenburg got his start in the sport of Judo as a teenager, struggling to cope with the untimely death of his father. In Judo, he found both a worthy distraction from his loss and a source of community and self-improvement that helped guide him toward a happy, successful adulthood.
"I could have fallen into other things at that age," Gail recognizes. "Instead, my participation in the sport gave me self-confidence and discipline, and taught me how to interact with others effectively--all traits that helped prepare me for success in other areas. It's not an overstatement to say that Judo changed my life."
His commitment to Judo has shaped Gail's life-long interest in health and wellness--an interest that inspired him to study business and physical education at the University of Texas and later obtain a degree in health and nutrition from the American Health Sciences Institute.
Years later, that same interest led him to network marketing and the nutritional company he joined almost ten years ago. Having rejected multiple business opportunities in the past, he saw things in an entirely new perspective when a friend he respected highly, Robert G. Allen (author of Multiple Streams of Income), was the one making the introduction. Gail found that the company Allen spoke about reflected his own views about health and wellness; what's more, he soon realized that the networking business model itself complemented many of Judo's core principles, such as "maximum efficiency" and "mutual welfare and benefit." Most importantly, he saw the incredible potential for a networking business to support his family and young Judo athletes in his state.
Sharing What He Loves
The modern sport of Judo stems from the ancient Japanese martial art of Jujitsu. The "father" of Judo, Dr. Jigoro Kano, studied Jujitsu, and in 1882, integrated what he considered to be the best of that discipline's techniques to create a sport that is practiced today by millions around the world. (The Japanese word "Judo" translates as "the gentle way.")
"One of the best things about Judo is that anyone can do it--men or women, young children or adults in their sixties and seventies," Gail explains.
The skills that Judo teaches include concentration, physical coordination, and how to leverage physical strength and power. Students develop balance, flexibility, and the ability to move efficiently. They learn the art of self-defense, with moves that include throwing, grappling, control holds, choking, and arm locks. Mostly, though, Gail says, people practice and compete in Judo for the fun of the personal challenge and the teamwork--not to mention the fitness that inevitably accompanies Judo proficiency.
Over the years, Gail has been a competitor himself, as well as a coach to other Judo athletes. Through Texas Judo, the state governing body for the sport, Gail has held various official positions and served as a fundraiser and administrator; he has played a significant role in promoting Judo and facilitating broader participation in the sport in Texas. He currently serves as president of Texas Judo Fund, which guides the organization's fundraising development, helps plan and host championship games across the state, and recognizes excellence in Texas Judo athletes.
That job, says Gail, is a lot easier--thanks to network marketing.
"With a non-profit, funding is a constant frustration," explains Gail. "Many Judo students can't afford to participate in competitions, which take place all across the state. Most of the money that has gone into Judo has come from the athletes and their families themselves."
When Gail realized that he could establish a distributorship in Texas Judo's name, he was ecstatic. Finally, there would be a funding mechanism in place to channel a continuous stream of income into the organization, rather than having to rely on event-by-event fundraising or membership dues, which were inadequate to the scope of their goals. Better still, the money coming in would derive from multiple sources, not just the active Texas Judo community. Others who purchase products under Texas Judo would be lending financial support--whether they were aware of it or not and whether or not they have any involvement with the sport.
Judo in the Olympics
When Judo for men became an Olympic sport in 1964 at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, Gail was fortunate enough to be there to see it happen. The sport was included in the Games in Munich, Germany, 1972; Montreal, Canada, 1976; Moscow, USSR, 1980 (though the USA team boycotted); and Los Angeles, USA in 1984.
Women's Judo was introduced at the 1988 Games in Seoul, Korea, and was added as a permanent Olympic sport at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain. Judo competition for men and for women was part of the 1996 and 2000 games in Atlanta, USA and Sydney, Australia.
Gail was a staff member for both the 1984 and 1996 USA Olympic Games, as well as the 1987 and 1999 Pan-American Games and the 1995 World Judo Championships. He has been part of the sports national leadership, serving as Treasurer and Vice President of USA Judo, the national governing body for Judo, and has also served as Treasurer for the North American Judo Confederation. Currently Gail is the chairman of the USA Judo Scholarship Fund, supporting college-bound Judo athletes.
As he built his networking business, Gail worked to build a network for Texas Judo, too; today, that distributorship is the group's largest single source of income, with a downline organization of nearly 1000 members.
"Most of the earnings are devoted to paying travel and hotel expenses for Judo students in our state. We've virtually eliminated the biggest financial barrier to broad-based participation in Judo championships."
The funding has helped Texas Judo to be one of the most active state chapters of USA Judo, the sport's nationwide association and governing body. Of all the state chapters, it has the second highest membership, including coaches, sport officials, and registered clubs from across Texas. Texas Judo hosts five state championships each year, and Texas clubs have been hosts to many national championships. Gail is proud that ten of his state's athletes are recognized as U.S. Elite Athletes for their accomplishments in national and international competitions.
Even before he started the Texas Judo distributorship, Gail had long been concerned with making Judo accessible to students from all socio-economic backgrounds. Years back, he started a scholarship fund for the national Judo organization to help exceptional but economically disadvantaged Judo athletes attend college. With his network marketing income, Gail has been able to allocate steadily increasing amounts to this fund. The fund currently provides over $10,000 for scholarships each year. Together with an experienced review committee, Gail pores over applications every year and awards the scholarships based on applicants' financial need and personal achievements in Judo.
Funding a Non-Profit through Networking
Are you intrigued by Gail's idea for funding Texas Judo through a network marketing distributorship? It's all about presenting the concept so that people can understand it and get involved easily and enthusiastically. On behalf of Texas Judo, here's how Gail explains the funding potential:
THE JUDO HEALTH & WEALTH PROGRAM
The secret of champions: It's not really a secret. What it takes to develop champions in any sport is healthy athletes, good training methods and money--lots of money. Now there's a program that can help you with all the elements of the success formula: health, training, and money.
What's the program about? ? It's a Total Health Program, that's so easy to market, anyone can do it. Not only is it a great program for athletes, but it is also being used by the general public--the parents, friends, and supporters of Judo and some people who've never even heard of our sport.
How does it work? With this program, each person or each club will have an independent business and will receive commissions on everything purchased by the members enrolled in their group. The potential is mind-boggling. You will now be able to market to people all over the world. Your market size just increased by thousands of percentage points. The key here is to see the potential and act together to support this program. With "Critical Mass," you can start generating income immediately. While you enhance your own and your family's health, you can generate money for yourself, for your club, and for Judo.
OUR GOALS FOR THE PROGRAM
Short Term: We want the program to generate over $1000 per month directly by the Judo Travel Fund and much more by the individual clubs and members.
Long Term: We want the program to be generating $10,000 per month directly to the Judo Travel Fund and be available to every Judo club in the nation and the world.
Dr. Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning, and Dr. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, both taught us that goals without a mission statement or purpose statement are meaningless. We call that purpose statement, the "Why."
Why are we committing all this time and effort to helping finance the top competitors? It's very simple. We want to become the premier Judo organization in the world. And we will not achieve that lofty goal until we have the type of financing that will allow our athletes to train and compete with the best.
HOW WILL THE PROGRAM HELP ATHLETES?
We are starting a pilot program by developing the criteria for top athletes in the local area to be sponsored by the Judo Travel Fund. We are looking for individuals who are potential elite athletes. We will start choosing the athletes and helping them to become the best they can be.
What about training to generate income? Each member will be furnished with complete training materials while each group will be furnished special training sessions. We already have an Internet Web site, weekly conference calls, e-mail, voice mail updates, business management tools, regional meetings, national conventions and professional training.
Don't wait. If you keep doing what you've been doing, you are going to keep getting the same results. It's time to change; the time is now. Make a commitment to become the best you can be by enrolling in the Judo Health & Wealth Program today.
Gail then provides an Internet link to information about the products, as well as contact information so that he can answer any questions. The idea is to get individual Judo clubs throughout the state setting up distributorships under the Texas Judo distributorship, to support themselves and the state governing body at the same time. Now, that's leverage! -- U.O.
"Most of the time, we know many of the applicants personally from working with them, or we know of them because we've seen them compete around the state. We get letters all the time telling us how much the scholarships help them with their college expenses and with staying involved in the sport. What's important to me is seeing that youngsters today get the opportunity to have fun with Judo and get the same benefits from it that I have had."
UMA OUTKA is a contributing editor for Networking Times.