Fifth degree black belt Mellody Kaiser originally opened her martial arts studio to prove that she couldn’t do it.
“My instructor felt I had the ability to work well with people and really wanted me to open my own studio. I taught for him for eight years — he kept pushing me to do my own thing,” Kaiser said.
Even though Kaiser wasn’t so sure, she finally decided to give it a try.
“I originally tried just to please everyone — but it’s been great. I remember my first class, I had cold sweat,” Kaiser said. “I did this as a trial thing to see if it would work and I was having so much fun with it I really wanted to do more.”
Opening in Oberlin on May 1, Kaiser had run the program out of the Splash Zone since 2008.
Kaiser said she made the move with the encouragement of her students and their parents and because she wanted to expand her hours.
“Enough people wanted to move to a new place to get more time that I thought, we can make this work. That’s why we did it,” Kaiser said, “We had great students and great parents who said we’ll back you and be here when you make the move. And they have. To their credit everyone who said they would move is still here. They love the facility.
“With the Splash Zone the hours had to be limited because we shared the room with other programs,” Kaiser said.
Offering classes for 4 to 7 year olds, 8 to 14 year olds, teens and adults, Kaiser teaches a style of martial arts known as Kajukenbo—which is a mixed martial art that began in Hawaii. Kaiser said that Kajukenbo is the first American martial art, combining the practices of Karate, Kali, Judo, Jujitsu, Kempo and Chinese and American boxing.
Oberlin Martial Arts also offers classes for special needs children.
Kaiser said that whereas other instructors might lose patience working with the younger children, she enjoys teaching them.
“Kids respond differently to women, especially the younger ones, than they do to men. And women might be more patient. The 4 to 7 year olds can get a little crazy sometimes,” Kaiser said.
In making the move, Kaiser said it was a challenge to find the perfect building in Oberlin.
“This was the sixth location that we looked at. It was hard to find one that accommodates us and had no stairs. Parking was also an issue; we needed sufficient parking. As a part-time business, there is only so much you can put into it. I like this location so much,” Kaiser said.
Kaiser hopes to expand programming as time goes on, adding classes like cardio-kickboxing and being able to use both rooms at the same time.
Contact Rob Swindell at 329-7155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.