May 2015 Self-Defense professional Featured Story:
Joe Robaina and C.O.B.R.A. Defense Miami
Joe Robaina is a lifetime martial arts and fitness professional who is leading the self-defense charge in south Florida. Known as the “Medicine Man” for his degrees and education in exercise physiology, Robaina is about as diversified as you can get.
Success in the Martial Arts industry often falls to those who truly think outside the Gi. What does that mean exactly? It’s not another leave your art behind speech but rather clarity in business. I love my “art, way, style” as much as the next instructor and still enjoy the training sessions which are specific to my martial arts background. My background as a Joe Lewis black belt among my other black belts is only important to one person, me.
Once you realize this you are on the road to thinking outside the Gi. Joe Robaina, like many martial arts professionals, has a background in so many different arts, styles and methods it would make your head spin. The difference is he has taken the established brand and efficient model of COBRA and run away with it. Robaina has synced his training center with the HQ (headquarters) schedule and marketing activities for maximum efficiency.
Robaina spear heads his market with Cobra Self-Defense, COBRA-Fit for fitness and the COBRA Fighting Systems for his long adult training program. This gives him a significant market advantage and it allows him to grow all of the affiliated programs that he offers.
Joe and his Miami C.O.B.R.A. Training center are doing the single most important thing you can do to be successful. They are simply following the play book. Too often in this industry, business owners will work twenty times harder to recreate the wheel and still not find success. When it’s just implementing an already proven business model, it can make all the difference in the world.
Joe Robaina’s surgical like precision for teaching and implementing C.O.B.R.A. in his territory has earned him the cover of May 2015 Self-Defense Professional Magazine.
Let’s take a trip to Miami for an interview with Joe and his team.
When and how did you start training in the self-defense/Martial Arts industry/fitness industry?
As a five year old I saw a martial arts movie at a drive-in and all I knew was I HAD to learn how to do that. I was officially accepted into a martial arts school at the age of 7, started assisting my instructor at the age of 10 and was teaching by the time I was in my teens. My undergraduate degree (B.S.) is in Exercise Physiology, I was heavily into fitness and offered personal fitness training services throughout college. At 23, I opened my first personal fitness training studio and today I run a facility that still offers fitness and self-defense programs.
How has Cobra added value to your training and business?
COBRA addresses two HUGE markets and gives people (both adults and children) what they’re looking for: Real Self Defense and Fitness in a practical fashion with immediate, measurable results. It allows us to attract people that would otherwise never consider a martial arts program with all its intricacies. When folks step out of COBRA orientation, it’s such an eye opener that their self-defense awareness and IQ increases tenfold. What they learn from day one is readily applicable and they want to share it with everyone. On the fitness side, people have figured out having a gym membership rarely equates with results so with COBRA-FIT for example, we have a unique advantage when we offer weight loss in a specific time period. Results lead to referrals. On the marketing and communications side, by aligning ourselves with COBRA Hdq. and using the tools provided, we just follow the time-tested, proven systems that save us a ton of time and gets results.
What are your training and business goals for the next 3 years?
I’d like to see the COBRA brand continue to grow nationally and internationally and I believe COBRA Defense Miami can contribute beyond the local community. Offering products and services that support COBRA instructors worldwide, today’s technology allows us to do that. I would like to get to the point when you say “COBRA Defense” everybody knows you’re talking about the best in the industry and if you’re not training at an authorized center, you need to have your head examined.
What do you enjoy most about being a Self-Defense Instructor?
Two things: 1) Witnessing the empowering transformation that comes from the training experience in such a short period of time. The level of confidence and self-esteem of COBRA graduates goes through the roof in a mere 10 weeks. The COBRA Matrix experience is unforgettable and provides a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Students realize the value of the experience and want to continue training. 2) The building of relationships and community. You NEVER forget your COBRA Academy family, those you helped and the ones who helped you make it to the finish line. Many of our graduates go on to volunteer as safeties and assistants and some even become instructors because they want to help others. I love seeing great friendships develop, plus it’s just plain fun!
If you only had 5 minutes to train someone what would be the most valuable survival skills you would teach them?
From a physical perspective: enhanced awareness use of improvisational tools (cane, belt, ring, hot coffee, etc.) to create leverage, (The hallmark of the Robaina student is the understanding that tools create leverage, so don’t get caught empty handed!) Be loud with your voice! Bad guys hate it when you’re loud and attract attention.
Describe your school, its location and all of the programs you and your staff teach.
COBRA Defense Miami is centrally located in West Miami, Florida right outside Coral Gables. We offer three main services in groups or private format for Adults and Children (ages 7 and up): 1) Self Defense Classes 2) Fitness Classes 3) Therapeutic bodywork for pain relief. We offer all the COBRA programs, 10 week academies, 1-day survival camps, real estate agent self-defense, Active shooter response, Anti-Bullying for kids and COBRA-Fit Kickboxing and Weight Loss solutions. We also offer fitness boot camps and teach members how to eat to maximize fat loss and performance goals. Anyone with aches, pains, or injuries can benefit from top notch, non-invasive therapeutic bodywork from some of the most experienced and accomplished licensed therapists in South Florida. We offer our services in a more personalized fashion than what is commonly offered in large chain gyms and emphasize follow up and quality care. Having it all under one roof makes it ultra-convenient for members.
If someone is interested in joining as a Cobra Instructor or school what would you tell them?
What are you waiting for? Times have changed, the industry, technology, and consumer mentality has evolved. To compete with large chains, you need to produce results and let the world know you exist. Chris Sutton understands the market and how to address it. You can try doing it ALL yourself or plug into the COBRA system and make your life easier. Thank you Chris and Mark for all you do and the honor of this interview.
To Contact the Miami Training Center: