By Kristin Schultz
Shop Rite Plaza will welcome a new neighbor later this winter when Nisky Martial Arts and Family Center opens next to LT’s Grill.
Construction in the 3,000 square foot space will begin in January with a tentative opening date in February or March.
Once built out, the space will feature high-quality mats, wall mirrors, hard floors in the lobby area and an office space.
Owners Kyle and Devica Phillips plan to offer a variety of taekwondo classes and family events for people age 3 to 93.
Kyle has been practicing taekwondo since he was 4 years old. At age 11, he earned his black belt and started teaching. He has earned top honors in state and national competitions and has medaled as part of the taekwondo AAU national team.
“I’ve been practicing for 27 years,” Kyle said. “I’ve had so much fun with it that I never saw it as a chore. It was something I wanted to do.”
Kyle will be the head instructor and Devica, his wife, will work alongside him managing the business, memberships and helping with students.
The couple plans to offer a Tiny Tigers group for children as young as 3 or 4 years old. Kyle said as long as the child is potty-trained, they can participate. He said offering a class for kids so young is unique in the area but he is confident in the offering.
“Kids at that age have different needs,” Kyle said. “It has to be fun for them to learn the fundamentals. The class will be fast-paced and have constant interaction.”
Fun will be the focus for all of the students, but Kyle said as students get older and work toward higher belt levels, the challenges and work will increase.
In addition to taekwondo, Kyle and Devica want to offer non-martial arts classes for adults. They are considering fitness classes and mindfulness classes that focus on meditation and breathing.
The pair also hopes to offer family classes that parents and students can take together. The classes will also incorporate the five tenets of taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and self-confidence or indomitable spirit.
In addition to classes, the studio will be open for parents’-night out events, where parents can drop off their children for a couple of hours on a Friday night and go have a date night. Kyle is also looking to host a Mother’s Day picnic in a local park.
As Kyle and Devica started thinking of opening their own business, they were drawn back to the area where they grew up.
Graduates of Schenectady High School, they left New York in September 2015 and taught taekwondo in the San Francisco area.
Though they had the opportunity to open a studio on the West Coast, they chose to come home in October 2016 to pursue their goal of owning their own studio.
“This is our home,” Kyle said. “We love the community. We have friends and family here, so it was a no-brainer.”
Kyle and Devica’s faces may be familiar. They had a booth at last spring’s Niska-Day.
Nisky Martial Arts and Family Center’s website is still under construction, but for more information Kyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.