The colorful procession is a ceremony to introduce Elite’s new, 3,200-square-foot space to its students, an upgrade from its 1,800-square-foot digs, according to owner Elliot Stone.
“I’m working on a whole vision for the school as a high-class, beautiful, healthy environment,” Stone said.
A 25-year-old Scotts Valley High School graduate, Stone began teaching martial arts when he earned his first black belt at 13 years old. Now a third-degree black belt who will test for his fourth degree next year, Stone opened Elite Martial Arts at 19, shortly after graduating high school.
“There are so many resources and mentors in the martial arts world,” he said. “Going to business school would help, but it wasn’t a necessity.”
Stone borrowed some seed money from his parents, who had both attended college, and launched the business in May 2007.
“I have told students in the Sports Occupations class at Scotts Valley High School that you don’t have to get a traditional education, but you do have to get an education,” Stone said.
At the beginning, Elite hosted four or five martial arts classes for children and adults each day, Stone said. That number has doubled to include yoga and popular cage fitness classes.
Elite has also developed the Black Belt Club and Master’s Club, in which students are nominated by instructors to be included in the next level based on work ethic and technique. Stone also offers weapons training, switching to a new weapon every four months to keep things fresh.
But Elite’s calling card is teaching life skills along with high-level martial arts.
“All martial arts teach you focus and discipline,” Stone said. “What sets our school apart is that it is scripted into our curriculum.”
Stone and his 10 instructors teach the concepts to students to help them become better people and better martial artists.
“It’s a sickening feeling when you watch the youth tear each other apart and bully each other,” Stone said. “Kids make fun of each other. Everything on TV and in magazines, youth society is being programmed that this is how life is.”
Stone teaches respect and courtesy almost every day and sends home weekly worksheets that reinforce those lessons.
“We’re going above and beyond to get these messages across,” he said. “And parents love it.”
Elite’s new facility will include larger mat sizes, cushioned seating for onlookers, a homework center separate from the floor for children who are waiting, a climbing wall, disco lights and other features.
Stone noted that Choi’s Tae Kwon Do, also in Kings Village, gave approval to have Elite move into the same shopping center.
The first day of classes at the new studio is Nov. 5.
Elite Martial Arts grand opening
When: 4 to 7 p.m.
Where: Elite Martial Arts, 216 Mount Hermon Road, next to Walgreens, in Scotts Valley
Details: Food, drinks, live music and martial arts demonstrations will be part of the festivities.
Info: 438-5425 or www.438kick.com
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