SENECA FALLS — When John Young started karate at age 5 because he loved ninja turtles, his mother didn’t think he’d last more than a month.
Well, now he’s 29 and teaching martial arts full time.
Young, of Geneva, has turned his lifelong passion for karate into a career. The 2006 Mynderse Academy graduate has grown his business from a few sessions a week at the Waterloo Community Center into five days of classes and 130 students at a new studio in the Seaway Plaza.
Young started teaching martial arts in Waterloo in April 2013 at the community center but knew he had to hold classes more than twice a week in order to expand. He moved his dojo (Japanese for karate school) to the Waterloo Main Street Shopping Centre and increased his client base from 25 to 47 students. But that space soon proved to be too small and just over a year ago Young moved to his current location, a 3,000-square-foot studio on Routes 5&20 (in the plaza’s former Nationwide Insurance building). He also quit his job at Wegmans to devote himself full-time to teaching martial arts.
“It was a scary decision but the best decision I ever made,” he said.
And one that is paying off.
Transform Martial Arts is now up to 130 students, Young said — a combination of children and adults. His classes are broken into four age groups: 3 to 5; 6 to 10; 10 to 14; and 14 and up….