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Exclusive Martial Arts opens

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By AJ Vicens

By all indications, Exclusive Martial Arts is going to be a smashing success.

As the two owners sat to discuss their new business, carloads of people came and went, each asking when the school will open and expressing excitement about the project.

The school opened Aug. 10 for classes, but owners Matt Young and Nick Nolen held an open house Aug. 15. The two, 25 and 24, respectively, say their youth will be an asset in keeping Tae Kwon Do classes fresh and energetic.

"If the classes aren't fun, this business will die," Young said.

Young and Nolen have converted an old yoga space in the Meadows Shopping Center into the home for their new school, which they say will be a place for people aged 3-and-a-half and up to learn not only martial arts skills, but lessons they can apply to their lives at school and at home.

"It really teaches development of discipline, focus, respect and confidence," Young said.

"These are skills that apply to all aspects of life," Nolen said.

The two have been planning to open the school for several months after meeting at another martial arts organization and developing a friendship. Young brings years of martial arts training and teaching experience to the table, along with experience creating and managing martial arts schools.

He grew up in Lakewood, graduating from Alameda High School in 2002. He created his own martial arts training studio before he graduated, a business that still exists. He sold it and went to work for another martial arts organization, becoming one of three men to run the studio for a national martial arts organization. Along the way he's achieved the rank of fourth-degree black belt. Exclusive Martial Arts will be the third martial arts school he's managed and the second he's owned.

Nolen also has considerable martial arts training, but he brings more of a business background to the table with years of sales, marketing and IT work under his belt. Originally from Riverton, Wyo., he learned the ins and outs of the IT and computer business, moving from Riverton to Casper, Wyo., and eventually to the Denver area. He also has marketing and design skills, along with sales. He and his wife now live in Aurora but are moving to South Jeffco in the coming months.

In these economic times, most people would be cautious, if not scared, about starting a new project, but not these two.

"Our relationships and support system take all the fear away," Nolen said, referring to the support from both men's families and business relationships Young's developed with many local martial arts families. "We put our heads together, crunched the numbers, came up with a plan and realized we could do it."

Nolen said that with Young's teaching background, his relationships in the community and the market for commercial real estate, "the opportunity presented itself at the right time."

The pair want to be able to make a living off their new school, but money is not the main goal.

"We'll help (kids) develop life skills, which will help them in all areas," Young said. "Seeing a change in those people is one of the main reasons I want to do this." He said children will end up more confident and happier in almost every aspect of their lives. Adults who get the training will be able to lose weight, or use the training as an aid to stop smoking or drinking, Young said.

Nolen's excited because the business is an opportunity to "mix everything I've always wanted to do: sales, work with kids, and to be athletic." Nolen said working with children hasn't always intrigued him, but when he was around children at a previous martial arts school and saw the way they progress and develop skills and confidence, he knew it was something he wanted to be a part of.

He also likes the fact that adults and kids can train together.

"A lot of families don't have that time to spend together," Nolen said. "Here, they can do that."

Young said Exclusive Martial Arts will encourage parents who don't want to train to at least sit and watch their children go through the programs.

"We don't want them to just drop their kids off for an hour and leave," Young said. "This isn't the typical martial arts school."

Nolen said that a big focus of the school will be the customer service and the relationships that will allow the physical training to complement the mental training.

"There's the martial arts side of it and the other side of it," Young said. "While the students are having fun, we'll be interjecting that discipline and that focus."

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.

Exclusive Martial Arts is at 9719 W. Coal Mine Avenue, Unit E. Call them at: (303) 972-0114 to discuss pricing options and class schedules.