We understand it is your tenth anniversary, are you having any special events?
On Saturday October 21 from 10AM – 2PM we are having a Tenth Anniversary Open House. At 10AM any visitors can try a fun class. From 11AM – 2PM they can break a board, see demonstrations, have refreshments and chat with staff and students.
Where are you located?
Guilderland Martial Arts is located at 2563 Western Turnpike between Hannaford and Town’N Country Lanes. Our phone number is (518) 690-1269 and our website is www.guilderlandmartialarts.com. We are also on Facebook and YouTube.
So since it’s your tenth anniversary, you began in 2007, exactly when did you open?
We began in March of 2007 in a tiny little space with a pole in the middle of the training area. It was a tough time to start a business because in the fall our economy suffered what some analysts say was the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Making it successfully to our tenth year is a great achievement for our family.
How and why did you get into the business?
When I moved to the Capital District with my family in 2005 and began teaching high school math, I wanted to have a second job to better support my family. I had considered and applied for evening jobs ranging from retail to computer operator. Initially it was my wife Zeynep that pushed me and gave me the confidence to pursue our own school. Later, along with Zeynep, it was my sister Chris and husband Brian, owners of the Guilderland UPS store and my mom that helped get GMA going and continue to run the business with us today.
What makes your school unique?
There are two main qualities that make us unique. When we established our school, we decided that our focus would be family martial arts. This is the first quality that makes us unique. This has always been what has differentiated us and what makes our school a relaxing, fun place to be. Our after school program fits this theme as we provide families with quality after school care that includes character enrichment, academic support and martial arts training. Our program is licensed to operate and receive students from the Guilderland School District’s transportation department. It also contributes to our unique position in the neighborhood since all of our family lives in Guilderland, all of our children have been educated in the Guilderland School District, I am a teacher at Guilderland High School, my wife works for the district and my sister owns and operates the UPS store with her husband. I believe this connection to our community makes us very unique in the region.
What type of martial arts do you teach?
We are a Taekwondo school. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that has a focus on powerful and fast kicks. This is perfect for aerobic exercise and self-defense. We complement the traditional training in Taekwondo with practical self-defense and situational awareness. We are members of USA Taekwondo, the US governing body for World Taekwondo. This organization represents a complete path to the Olympics and to the Kukkiwan, the World Taekwondo Headquarters. Some schools certify their blackbelts internally, but we acquire blackbelts from Kukkiwan Headquarters which allows our blackbelts to be recognized worldwide.
Are you known for anything special?
I think we are well known for enhancing the character of our students in a friendly environment where parents and children can train together. Additionally, I think we are known for helping people overcome challenges and achieve goals in the training area, at demonstrations, at school, at work and in our community.
Do you participate in competitions?
We participate in local competitions, regional competitions and periodically national competitions. We have had have many students successful at the national level. Recently one of our instructors, Michelle who trains with Peak Performance in Scotia as well as at GMA, won a gold medal at nationals in sparring. It is really quite beneficial to our students to train side by side with national medalists and have an instructor who is a national champion and bound for international competition.
What do you love most about the business?
All along, the best part of my jobs has been working with my family members. Almost all of my extended family in the area has trained at our school. The best part is training together. I simply love the focus, the physical training together, the excitement of seeing each other reach goals and sharing a common hobby. This is the best, my family is the best.
Now that you have been successfully operating for 10 years what are your goals?
Our goal is to continue to retain our higher ranking belts and help them continue to develop their leadership skills while introducing new students to the sport. We want to continue to get new families to join and experience the joy of training together. Continue to improve the services we provide to our after school students.