Like many of you reading this, Allie Key, mother to four children under the age of 10, tells us she often feels like an Uber driver (minus the tips.) She can typically be found shuttling her crew from activity to activity throughout the week. One time commitment they’ve found to be well worth the effort this year is martial arts.
“It’s a year-round sport,” Key says. “We encourage our kids to participate in a variety of interests, but as someone who grew up playing team sports, I see directly how this provides them with something different. Martial arts is about developing the whole person through a combination of physical and mental discipline.”
She and her husband Jason recently became owners of SouthPark’s Premier Martial Arts studio in Sharon Corners. There, students –– of all ages –– are able to learn valuable skills that will help them throughout their lifetime.
Q: Why did you choose martial arts as an entrepreneurial venture?
A: We came through the pandemic with a strong desire to contribute to our community and Premier Martial Arts reflected our vision of making a meaningful impact in the lives of our members and their families. We also support our community by offering self-defense workshops to companies and enrichment programs to schools through our not for profit, Premier Kid’z. We help people get in shape, be safe, and at the same time instill the life skills and character of a true martial artist. We were inspired by this mission, and it is our hope that we’re helping to build a better community one black belt at a time.
Q: What are the benefits children gain through martial arts?
A: Martial arts helps kids develop self-discipline, high self-esteem, a positive outlook, a spirit of constant improvement, and an attitude that refuses to give up. The true practice of martial arts does not encourage violence. In fact, the origins are grounded in values such as respect, courtesy, honesty, perseverance, and integrity. These values and life skills will lead to remarkable improvements in academics, careers, and personal relationships. I have personally seen how martial arts impacts our kids in ways that other sports haven’t, so we’ve made it a priority.
Q: Keeping a child engaged with after school activities can involve a great deal of hustle. How do you manage this effectively, especially with four kiddos in tow?
A: I plan for the day ahead of time. Depending on the day and the number of activities we have going on, I will have the car packed with all the extra equipment and change of clothes needed. Lots of snacks and water bottles are essential as well.
Q: How did your family celebrate you on Mother’s Day this year?
A: I woke up to lots of flowers and homemade cards. The rest of the day was dedicated to leisure and family time.
Q: What makes Premier Martial Arts a special studio?
A: Family is what makes PMA different, and our goal is to be an extension of that. Our age 3 to 4 “Tiny Champs” class encourages parent participation. We also offer monthly parent-child classes, and our Black Belt Excellence sheets offer an opportunity for parents and kids to discuss their strengths, challenges, and opportunities to grow in a constructive way. Adults and children alike benefit from our class offerings as we incorporate a combination of techniques such as Taekwondo, Karate, and Krav Maga (a form of self-defense).
Q: Do you have any Charlotte Smarty Pants special offers or discounts for readers?
A: We’d love to offer two private lessons, adult or child, for $39. These will be run like a normal mixed martial arts class to give a glimpse of what to expect. Just call the studio at (704) 765-3634, and say you heard about us in Smarty Pants to redeem!