Chinzo Machida: Emigrating to Start a Business, Creating a Global Martial-Arts Movement

Brazilian Karate Instructor Purchases Dojo through SBA 504 Program

Since TMC Financing was founded in 1981, we have been privileged to work with many entrepreneurs who have emigrated to the U.S. from countries all across the globe.  We’ve covered many of their success stories and now, we’re revisiting several to highlight their vital role contributing to our economy in generating jobs and tax revenue  and strengthening our communities.

Here’s the story of Chinzo Machida, the owner and lead instructor of Machida Karate Academy in Lomita, CA, near Los Angeles. In 2015, along with his wife and children, he emigrated to California from an area near the Amazon in Brazil. In 2017, he opened Machida Karate Academy with his brother, Lyoto, a mixed-martial-arts competitor who emigrated to California shortly before Chinzo. The Machida brothers began their martial arts careers at an early age, learning from their father – a (what is the word for master) who himself emigrated to Brazil from Japan in search of a better life. Chinzo is a TMC Financing SBA 504 loan recipient who we profiled in 2023 for a financing success story.

We recently spoke with him to learn about how he’s diversifying his business and growing a national and international presence for Machida Academy.

Machida Karate Academy: A specialized martial art form blossoms in the U.S.

“I started teaching karate when I was 13 and although I was a successful competitor, I always wanted to be an instructor,” Chinzo says. “When Lyoto moved to the U.S., he encouraged me to come, too, so that we could open a school together. We agreed that the opportunities were better here, the economy is better, and people are open to trying new things.”

Machida Karate Academy offers instruction in a unique form of karate developed by Chinzo’s father that combines karate’s Japanese roots with Brazilan JuJitsu while also teaching techniques from combat sports. Significantly, it also focuses on developing character through discipline, focus, and self-confidence.

Chinzo explains, “ you also have to teach self-discipline and control – otherwise, you’re just creating little human weapons!”

Both brothers were able to come to the US via sponsorship for their competitive sports.  Chinzo eventually received an Extraordinary Abilities/EB-1 green card to teach Machida Karate in the U.S. because, simply, no one else knew how to do it.

Overcoming challenges on the path to success

After losing 80% of the Academy’s revenue due to pandemic-related closures, Lyoto moved to Florida to pursue his competitive career. At a time when the Academy was particularly vulnerable, Chinzo had to find funding to buy out his brother and purchase the building, or to leave his dream behind and move back to Brazil. Fortunately, through his research, he found TMC Financing and secured a $1.8 million loan to buy the property from his brother.

Since then, Chinzo and his staff of eight have rebuilt the business and today, onsite enrollment is up more than 40% from pre-pandemic levels. Students include children as young as four years old (the “Little Dragons”) and adults who are new to martial arts or looking to reinvigorate past practices.

Chinzo says that owning his own building presents a lot of opportunities and it wouldn’t have been possible had he not found TMC Financing and the SBA 504 loan program, which enabled him to put 10% down, instead of the more typical 30-40%.

Currently, the Academy uses about 6,000 square feet, with an additional 1,500 available. There’s room to build onsite classes from the current level of about 300 students to a capacity of 500. He’s also exploring uses that include private lessons or a space that he can lease. And he has diversified the Academy’s revenue streams by adding merchandise and online classes.

Machida Karate Academy grows across the U.S. and around the world

The Academy’s success is leading to another opportunity for growth: Chinzo is training trainers and then licensing Machida Karate Academy locations around the U.S. and globally.

“There’s a lot of interest in our martial-arts style, so we created a methodology and program that’s now a licensed business model. People around the country and world can open Machida Karate Academy locations,” Chinzo says. Already, there are other locations in California, as well as in Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Brazil, Japan, and France, in addition to the original academy near Los Angeles.

TMC Financing supports entrepreneurs

“Everyone has passion and talent, and you have to combine that with a plan and patience,” Chinzo says. “That’s how you develop a path to success. If you have passion and talent but no plan, then whatever you’re doing is just a hobby. You have to figure out how to monetize your passion.”

TMC Financing is proud to have helped Chinzo strengthen and grow his business and we can help you, too. We’re the leading provider of SBA 504 commercial real estate loans in the nation, funding projects worth over $14 billion across Arizona, California, Nevada, and Oregon. Over 7,000 businesses have benefited from this financing, resulting in the creation of an estimated 60,000 jobs. Contact us today to learn more.