Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Owning a small business is both challenging and rewarding. According to the U.S. censes there are over 543,000 new business started each month in the United States. Sadly many new businesses fail in the first few years while only a quarter of the startups stay in business for over fifteen years.
This year, one small local business; Adirondack Taekwondo is celebrating their seventeenth year in our community. Owned by Michael & Mary-Elizabeth Yuhasz the family acquired the company in a small plaza located in Clifton Park over seventeen years ago. Today Adirondack Taekwondo and their students enjoy a state-of-the-art facility on Route 9 in Clifton Park. The facility features a private parking lot, drop off area for students, safe matted Olympic flooring, vaulted ceilings, parent viewing area complete with wifi, private dressing rooms, pro-shop and much more.
Prior becoming small business owners both Michael & Mary-Elizabeth were finishing their degrees in Elementary Education at the College of Saint Rose. “Back then I felt we were young enough to take the risk of becoming small business owners and if things didn’t work out we would have our degrees to fall back on”, said Yuhasz. Today Adirondack Taekwondo has become a part of the community. Offering Taekwondo classes for children, teens and adults with the opportunity of various seminars and workshops in self-defense, bully awareness, internet safety and this February the State of New York will he sharing a workshop on recognizing and responding to opioid overdose while supplying Narcan rescue kits.
When asked what stands out the most in his Taekwondo career Master Michael Yuhasz explained, “There are a few moments that standout to me. The first I was teaching a private lesson to a child who had Asperger’s and after about six months of practicing together I asked him if it was okay if I touched his shoulder for a self-defense technique and he then gave me a huge hug. Both his mother and I started to tear up because we both realized that his hug was a major breakthrough for him.
The second happened a few years ago when I had a moment of clarity. In the past I thought that producing students who could win championships and national titles would make me a great instructor. But that’s such a small part of what Taekwondo really is. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to coach my students at championships and seeing them smile after doing well. But then I thought about all our students who didn’t want to compete, and that Taekwondo for them wasn’t about winning medals but rather being involved in an activity where you’re only competing with yourself. That Taekwondo is for children who need to find confidence in themselves. Maybe they didn’t enjoy baseball or team sports but needed an activity that made them ‘feel good’ about themselves. Some children are at times socially awkward and in today’s society they are targets of bullying. Taekwondo offers a great bridge for self-defense and a since of belonging. Similar to being on a team the only difference is the Taekwondo floor is your playing field and all your classmates are your team members helping you along. Taekwondo isn’t about chasing medals but rather helping children and adults gain fitness and confidence in themselves through Taekwondo”.
Owning a small business is a 24/7/365 days a year job. “It’s our family business. We think about it all the time”, Mary-Elizabeth explained. “It can be stressful at times but over the past seventeen years we understand the seasons and having strong relationships with our students and families here has always helped keep our perspective. Our Taekwondo students and families hosted baby showers for our children; we watched families grow-up here at the Taekwondo School while they watched us grow as a family. We have seen our student’s graduate high school and college, attended weddings, and sadly funerals too. We are so fortunate to have a ‘second family’ here”.
Master Michael A. Yuhasz is a sixth degree Black Belt and former Elementary school teacher. Today he serves as a member of Shenendehowa’s Character Education Committee, hosts seminars on bully awareness, has been the Keynote speaker at Shenendehowa’s fifth grade moving up ceremonies, recently furthered his personal training by attending Master’s training courses and when his not teaching classes at Adirondack Taekwondo he can be found riding his bike or at a local coffee shop working on his comic series - Straight Edge and the Black Belt ADVENTURES.
Adirondack Taekwondo and the Yuhasz family have been serving the community for seventeen years and are looking forward to the months and years to come as they continue to share their love for Taekwondo in Clifton Park and Southern Saratoga County. For more information visit their website at www.ADKTKD.com