“I am originally from Argentina. I have been doing martial arts since I was five. It started because I was a super hyper-active child. It was always attributed to bad behavior. My mother took me to a doctor, and he told her to put me in martial arts to channel my energy.

“I reached a fifth degree black belt, it’s all political after five, and got a degree for international instructor. I trained with the national teams from Holland and Canada and went to the world championship, but got disqualified in the finals. Then I helped train the Argentina team when they made it to number one, but my calling was more special. I didn’t just want to teach people how to fight, but how to live.

“When I came to the U.S. I went to New Jersey first, but I had already established I wanted to live near a big city, mountains, and the beach. Charleston fit the bill. I absolutely adore this city, and plan to stay here forever.

“I moved here right before Hurricane Hugo, and opened Arts for Fitness a year later. I teach tae kwon do to all ages from little guys of five all the way up to 50 year olds. I recommend it to everyone. It gives people direction for their lives. Not only does it empower you, but you get great benefits like getting in shape, it is a very aerobic martial art. You also learn self-defense, leadership skills, and how to form healthy patterns for your life.

“The five pillars of tae kwon do are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. Students here are constantly dealing with situations involving pressure. Pressure allows our students to learn and retrain themselves, questioning who they are, and what they will do in stressful situations. Students can also release stress in a safe environment.

“I like to help people find balance in life, and see them progress and change. My favorite part of this job is helping people find happiness. We just want to help people live their lives.” —as told to Laura Kelly

Arts for Fitness is located at 3545 Mary Ader Ave. in West Ashley. For more information, call 556-4391

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