With an experienced staff of martial arts instructors who hold multiple black belts, ATA Elite Martial Arts knew how to draw a crowd of more than 200 students, parents and friends, to an energetic grand opening ribbon cutting and demonstration Saturday.
Co-Owners Antonio Rodriguez and his wife Carolina Warnes, Warnes’ father Carlos Warnes and Daniel Regueiro owned five martial arts studios in the Charlotte, NC, area when they decided to consolidate and focus their energy on one studio. They looked at opportunities for franchises throughout the U.S. and were drawn to Leesburg. The town’s demographics, growth potential and quality of life made it an attractive choice.
"This looked like a great area to move to and open one big school," Carolina Warnes said.
ATA Elite Martial Arts is licensed by the American Taekwando Association and is part of 1,800 independent schools in the country licensed for the use of its curriculum.
Saturday's ceremony began with a ribbon cutting attended by the Vice Mayor Dave Butler, Town Council member Kelly Burk, Town Manager John Wells and Doug Parsons from the Economic Development Council.
Butler noted the huge crowd at the ceremony as he welcomed the business to Leesburg.
"This is one of the largest attended ribbon cuttings I have ever been to," he said.
After the ribbon cutting, representatives from an ATA Elite school from Clifton, VA, put on a demonstration of their martial arts skills.
"This is so motivational for the students when they see older, more experienced students perform," Warnes said.
Enrollment at the studio – 1600 Village Market Boulevard next to Cobb Theatre at the Village at Leesburg – continues to climb, Warnes said. More than 120 students have signed on. Anyone interested in the studio is welcome to pay a visit and sign up for a free trial class.
Registration is open for summer camp programs in June and July, as well as a special spring break session in March. They are planning an after school program for the next school year, Warnes said.
"Our kids are taught important life skills they can take with them, such as to obey, show respect, structure and discipline," Warnes said, adding that the environment is family friendly, supportive and safe. "We want our students to understand simple and effective self defense techniques, as well as communication, punctuality, goals and focus."
Learn more on ATA Elite Martial Arts’ website.