Bruckmann Martial Arts: How Disaster Was Averted By Employee Involvement

jamie_hilts    October 3, 2016

Professor Justin Bruckmann walked into his martial arts academy on September 8th, 2016, expecting a normal day of teaching classes. What he was instead greeted by was the destruction of his life’s work. The club’s hot water tank had burst, flooding the entire building. Nothing could be salvaged, from the floor mats, to the washrooms and Justin was left waiting for insurance to pick up the pieces. With nothing to do but wait, Justin turned to his social media network to spread the terrible news, there were classes to teach and no academy to house the students. What happened next was a perfect example of employee involvement helping an organization recover and thrive.

Bruckmann Martial Arts runs a public Facebook group. This is a place where members and instructors frequently interact, in which the topics can span a range of critical scheduling, to funny pictures of hairless cats.  When Professor Bruckmann made a post informing his instructors and students that there would be no classes until further notice, the community reacted in a very positive manner. Bruckmann Martial Arts is the headquarters of a large network of gyms called “The Rebel Alliance” and, while instructors teach lessons at HQ, they also run their own businesses throughout the greater Toronto area. These instructors had all been given so much by their professor, they took it upon themselves to try and rectify the disastrous situation. Very soon after news of the flood had been posted, different instructors took it upon themselves to post on social media inviting students into their personal academies free of charge. All of the standard classes that usually took place at Bruckmann Martial Arts had been moved to different affiliate academies, completely on the initiative of loyal instructors.

While all of the instructors took it upon themselves to run surrogate classes, additionally, some decided to contribute in a different way. Kru Brendan Kalijundic of Kalsamrit Gym, decided to run a fundraising event at his home gym, with all the proceeds going to Bruckmann Martial Arts. This event was dubbed “Spar Wars” and he effectively used social media to advertise this event by a thoughtful post to the organization’s public Facebook group. Many members of the organization showed up and made this event a huge success. Without the large social media network and an engaged employee, this event would have not been possible.

A manager who shows all the signs of subscribing to McGregor’s Theory Y, Professor Bruckmann often gives his instructors free reign and he believes that his employees are committed to the growth of his organization. If he can not teach a class, he posts on Facebook asking one of his instructors to cover and one of them will answer the call. This shows that by using effective management, he has inspired his employees and they will do tasks without being forced or feeling intimidated. Often times, they use social media to help each other learn new techniques, or schedule events, of their own volition.

When contacted, Professor Bruckmann had this to say in regards to his employee’s use of social media:

Since our flood it’s created an avenue for our community to grow even closer. Social media can be very negative but it is also an important tool to show support our for team and community. This accident has strengthened our network, social media wise and beyond. Social media has been huge in creating a communication network for employees to work together effectively.”

The water damage to the martial arts facility, while a huge inconvenience, showed that when a manager can effectively inspire his employees, they will engage in their own efforts to improve their organization. By being a good natured person, who always goes the extra mile for his students, Professor Bruckmann made sure his subordinates did the same for him in his time of need. The social media push that his instructors organized following the accident shows, that when a network is created and filled with inspired employees, they will find ways to use it to forward the organization’s goals. Bruckmann Martial Arts is a large group of like minded people and their motto “Minha Equipe Minha Familia” (which translates to My Team, My Family), was shown to hold true.


Lessons for Others

What we can take from this case is that having a medium for employees to communicate with each other is important for the growth of an organization. When a problem is discovered, many minds working in conjunction with each other will often be more effective than a single person at solving that issue.  Effective management is also necessary to facilitate this communication. If employees believe in the cause or the person they are working for, they will be more likely to engage in the creative process. Building a system using social media is important, but you must also have employees committed to the organization’s objectives. Achieving this can be done using many management techniques, but in general, when you are a good person, and committed to the wellbeing of your employees, they will show you the same respect.

Organization: Bruckmann Martial Arts
Industry: Fitness
Name of Organization Contact: Justin Bruckmann

Authored by: Jamie Hilts

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


Barnett, T. (2016, January 1). Theory X and Theory Y (S. B. Droege, Ed.). Retrieved October 1, 2016, from

Bruckmann martial arts and fitness. (2016, October 3). Public Facebook Group. Retrieved October 2, 2016, from

Carr, P. (2016, September 19). Employee Involvement. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from

 Dalbec, B (2016, January 25). The Benefit of Internal Social Media? Engaged Employees. Retrieved October 2, 2016 from

 Kalijundic, B. (2016, September 13). Spar Wars Facebook post. Retrieved October 3, 2016 from