Meet Your Merchant: Building self-confidence through Krav Maga training
Glenwood Springs Martial Arts Academy
Description: martial arts classes and seminars for all ages
Owner or manager: Gabriel Cohen
Street Address: 601 E. Sixth St. (former Glenwood Center for the Arts building)
City: Glenwood Springs
Facebook: Glenwood Springs Martial Arts Academy
Date Business opened: Oct. 8, 2018
1) When did your business start?
Classes started Oct. 8.
2) What do you sell?
I sell empowerment and confidence through practicing discipline, focus and respect while teaching leadership skills and problem solving. We train Krav Maga five days a week in a fun, safe environment. Currently our students range in age from 5 to 64.
Krav Maga is so much more than striking and self-defense techniques. Our system comes from a place of love, not hate. The founder of Krav Maga is famous for saying it was created “so one may walk in peace.” My instructor Rick Blitstein received his black belt directly from Imi Lichtenfeld, who created Krav Maga for the Israeli Defense Forces.
3) Why do you like what you do?
Watching people grow from a place of fear and stepping into a world of confidence is extremely rewarding. I have worked with rape survivors, victims of domestic violence and kids that were bullied. The empowerment and confidence one gets from training with me is evident. I have testimonials from law enforcement officers I have worked with and parents who have seen the positive changes in their children. Krav Maga is a great way to get in shape and lose weight. Helping people make positive lifestyle changes and learn to keep themselves safe at the same time is why I do what I do. I love it.
4) What strategy do you use to hire good people?
I am a one-man operation. However, I currently have seven American Krav Maga affiliates from Alaska to New Mexico that are licensed to use my logo. In this valley I have friends from boxing and wrestling coaches to martial artists that are seasoned professionals. I provide the best instructors for my students. When someone comes to me for self-defense lessons they are literally putting their life into my hands. I have trained with leading counter terror special forces commandos from Israel, police officers and was even a personal guest of one of the grandmasters. I learn from the best in the world, and all my affiliates are vetted through background checks. Very few in the world have the contacts and experience I have.
5) What is your plan for growth in the next year in products, services or quality?
Locally I plan on creating unique opportunities for our students to serve the community to teach the children that being a martial artist and growing in strength breeds power that we must apply justly and benevolently. Putting our personal honor to work for the good of society so that we develop ethical leadership skills while showing gratitude for the blessing of living in this wonderful valley.
I also have a product line of hats, beanies, T-shirts and sweatshirts that I have been selling around the world through my American Krav Maga business, which is an extension of my original Krav Maga organization.
6) What is the best thing about running a business here?
My business started in my backyard, in an old barn with no electricity. Now, after becoming internationally recognized through my Facebook pages and YouTube channel I am teaching through the Rec Center and have a contract with the city. This is our home, and we’re in it for the long haul. I feel so blessed to have the support from the city that my wife and I love.
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Keeping good workers often comes down to one word, “understanding,” says Workplace Excellence symposium facilitator Patrick McGaughey — “If we don’t understand, then we have not yet communicated.”