Fitness Meets Fun
There is a class for everyone at Young Masters Martial Arts. The studio continues growing and evolving as demand increases.
Replying to emails, updating websites and teaching classes, that in a nutshell, is the life of Robert Knuth, owner of Young Masters Martial Arts.
Knuth, who previously was in the office supply and sporting goods business, has operated the martial arts program for the past seven years.
Classes are taught in karate, tae kwon do, judo, yoga, kickboxing and tai chi six days a week Monday through Saturday at the 8,000-square-foot location in the Woodstock Square Mall.
Karate is the Japanese interpretation of martial arts while tae kwon do is the Korean way.
Students of all ages, male and female, can earn white through black belts in a three-year period. “We do get involved with some competitions, but for the most part we are in the teaching business,” Knuth explained. “We stress the physical and mental aspects of martial arts. Our main goal is to teach self-defense, to respect others and for the students to have self confidence.”
One of the most popular programs is Little Ninjas, which is for ages 3 through 6. These classes are taught on Saturday mornings and Tuesday afternoons.
One of the main instructors of Little Ninjas is Amy Zymali. She has utilized the martial arts to deal with family hardships. Her mother-in-law was murdered in 1993 and her husband John is blind.
“We turned to martial arts and that was a motivator during some really tough times,” Amy said. “The whole family is involved in the program and it is a big part of our lives. I love teaching and watching kids develop.”
In addition to Amy and John, their children John and Angela are involved in teaching martial arts.
Amy emphasizes the importance of teaching young kids the right way to perform martial arts.
“We want to develop life skills at a young age,” Amy said. “We are interested in developing coordination, focus, control, balance, discipline and basic fitness skills. Kids develop and mature differently. They advance differently so we have to keep an eye on that. The kids have very low attention spans at that age so we need to keep it fun.”
Knuth’s business partner John Dughi has been with the program since its inception seven years ago.
Dughi, who is 65 and has been involved in martial arts for 53 years, dedicates three days a week to the program as a teacher and business partner. His full-time job is quality manager for Sloan Valve Co.
Dughi sees the business going in the right direction.
“We want to serve as much of the area as we can,” Dughi said. “It seems like we are always expanding programs and coming up with new ones. Our participation is growing through word of mouth, referrals and advertising. We get people of all ages.
“We have just added classes and have three very nice studios to teach in,” he added. “We want to teach the mental and physical aspect of the martial arts. We teach life skills people can utilize their entire lives. We are always open to new ideas and classes.”
Something for Everyone
Julie Doerr is an instructor of the popular cardio-related tai chi fitness class. The class entails TRX ropes, suspension training, stability balls, kettlebells and ropes. The class utilizes all the muscle groups and uses all the ranges of motions.
“This class is for anyone at any fitness level,” Doerr said. “It is for somebody who wants to run a marathon, it is for someone who wants to stay in shape and it is for a person recovering from an injury. It can be sports specific or for weight loss. Our classes are in small groups so I can give individual attention to everybody in the class.”