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Adding some kick to downtown: Martial arts studio moves into new location, expands classes

Martial arts students Anthony Larson (left) and Abby Kangas (right) run a drill during class on Tuesday, Feb. 6. (Beth Leipholtz / Echo Press) 1 / 2
On Wednesday afternoons, Alexandria Martial Arts holds classes for about 60 homeschooled students from the area. (Beth Leipholtz / Echo Press) 2 / 2

What began as in interest in high school 20 years ago has evolved into a career for Josh Waltzing.

Waltzing, co-owner and head instructor at Alexandria Martial Arts and Movement, has taught taekwondo in Alexandria for nine years. In May 2013, he and his wife added Empower Boxing into the mix. Now, the company is continuing to grow and in December, it moved into a new space on Fillmore Street, in the old KSAX building downtown.

"It was a perfect fit in a great location," Waltzing said. "Having two floors give us a lot of options. We didn't have to do a lot to change it or modify it. It was very much set up to work the way we wanted it to work."

In the new space, taekwondo and kickboxing classes are taught in the lower level, while other fitness classes, such as high intensity interval training and core classes, are taught in the upper level.

It is likely that dance classes, such as ballroom dancing, will also be held in the upper level in the future. Waltzing says he and his wife are open to sub-renting space to those wanting to teach such classes.

"She (the owner of the building) always had a vision that the upstairs would be a dance studio, so she remodeled it with hardwood floors," Waltzing said. "It is very classy. We immediately connected because of what I do and what she wanted to see in the building."

One of the more unique classes held is a traditional Korean sword art class.

"It's really about working on focus and concentration," Waltzing said. "It's low impact and low contact. It's really good for people who have any kind of injury or older adults working on muscular strength and flexibility. You're working the joints through full range of motion with something that has a little weight to it."

Through teaching martial arts to children and adults, Waltzing says the organization's goal is to create stronger, more confident, more capable people.

"With kids, it's learning focus, confidence, discipline," he said. "But I think the biggest thing is confidence. They learn they can do things they didn't realize. They can accomplish tasks that when they started, they didn't think they could do."

In addition to martial arts and fitness classes, Alexandria Martial Arts and Movement holds special events such as a Nerf night and a Parkour Parent's Night Out. Parkour is a kind of training that developed out techniques used on an obstacle course, like the one the military might use.

"(During parkour), kids are doing things like jumping over obstacles," Waltzing said. "They learn about jumping off one object onto another and stopping. They learn how to roll, how to do some basic parkour skills."

Personal training and small group training is also offered.

For more information, visit www.alexmartialarts.com.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

(320) 763-1233
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