Eli Ruiz | Democrat
The spacious ground-floor studio was completely renovated and customized by Will Young to accomodate his growing tae kwon do classes. He included bleacher seats for waiting parents, special mats and numerous ceiling fans.
Story by Eli Ruiz
LIBERTY September 3, 2013 There's no doubt that no matter the endeavor, many considerations come into play in running or opening a business.
For Fallsburg native Will Young and his Young's Tae Kwon Do one aspect is chief amongst those considerations: area youth.
In early May, Young after more than a month of renovations to the space on the corner of Main St. and Church St. that once, and for more than 50 years, housed the Liberty Pharmacy officially opened up for business.
"I could definitely tell it had been occupied prior to me," offered Young, 37. "It was pretty bad and needed lots of work, but my landlord has been just great and very supportive of what I was trying to do. He gave me the option to get in there and build it to my standards. We worked on it for at least a solid month to get it up to those standards."
And it's a win-win situation for both Young and the Village of Liberty.
"These kids and parents are spending their money in Liberty,” said Young. “They eat here, they fuel up here they actually spend a good amount of money here in Liberty."
Young, a Troop F State Police investigator with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) as part of the seven-man Major Crimes Unit, began his love affair with the martial arts at the age of 9, and is now a 5th Degree Kukkiwon Korea certified black belt, five-time AAU National Champion one of only five martial artists selected to represent the U.S. AAU team and even won bronze in the 1995 Los Angeles Pan-Am Games.
"I actually started Young's tae kwon do back in 1992. I was 16-years-old and I've been going ever since," he said.
Having spent approximately $25,000 of his own money to rejuvenate the neglected space in Liberty, Young leveraged a Village loan to defray some of the additional costs of the project, and explained, "I gave a presentation before the village board and they were very receptive and supportive of what I was trying to do."
Arriving at his new digs with a prior following of about 25 students students he trained out of his garage Young has managed to quickly grow his stable to 45 students ages five to adult. He also employs six AAU certified tae kwon do coaches. Young's program starts with his "Mighty Mights" division for his youngest students. The best of those Mighty Might youngsters can eventually graduate into his main program which tops out at 18-years-old and leads into his adult class. And it's not just Young and his students who are involved: "We've got a lot of very dedicated parents who also travel to these competitions, come to team trainings," says Young.
Young has recently embarked on an initiative he's calling "Team Young" for those students who chose to pursue a competition career in tae kwon do.
"I know the economic hardships that can be involved in competition and now I've actually put aside the time and I'm dedicated to building an elite team of competitors for purposes of competing in state and national level events," explained Young. He has even teamed up with a few other New York and New Jersey martial arts schools in an effort to help some of their more financially-challenged students attend these competitions.
"The kids also get extra training and wear special black Team Young t-shirts," said Young. "It's a real motivation for these kids who are traveling to different states to compete. They truly enjoy these competitions," he added. "It's [Team Young] in the infancy stages right now, but I finally have a true venue now where I can push it."
Young is also fostering a relationship with The Janice Center out of Jeffersonville in hopes to eventually form a partnership with the popular arts center. Currently, The Janice Center conducts a Zumba class on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
"I'm very interested in building and solidifying the relationship with them [The Janice Center]," said Young. "We've got the same basic goals and interests, and that's building up our youth."
In fact, back in June, Young and nine of his students travelled to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to compete in the AAU Tae Kwon Do Nationals, a competition where eight of his nine students garnered medals. "We were the winningest team this year," affirmed Young.
One goal Young says he's set this year is to bring 20 kids with him to Ft. Lauderdale next year.
And it doesn't end there, as Young has some rather lofty goals for his school.
"I have a two-year-plan," he offers. "I want to eventually buy the entire building. I want to build the membership and I want to eventually have up to 20 coaches and 50 or more athletes where we just go and compete and build memories while I maintain my career. But it all revolves around the kids."
As for Village of Liberty Mayor Dan Ratner, well he's thrilled: "Any new business in the Village of Liberty is an enhancement to the downtown area, but this one in particular is a benefit to the downtown and the community as a whole," he offered.
"The locale, and the type of business that it is has a big social impact as well. The building is wide open and as people walk past they see what's going on there the discipline, the activity going on there and the environment. It has social, community and economic benefits. It's a win-win situation all around."
For more information about Young’s Tae Kwon Do, please call 845-693-4117 or send all inquiries to MasterYoungsTKD@gmail.com.
Where: Corner of Church and Main Streets in Liberty.
What: Tae Kwon Do Studio; also offering Zumba classes. Future plans call for additional types of classes.
Owner: Will Young, New York State trooper and master tae kwon do instructor.
When: Tae Kwon Do classes held Monday and Tuesday (5- 7:15 pm); Wednesday (6:45 pm - 7:45 pm); Thursday (5-7:15 pm) and Saturday (9 a.m. -12:30 pm); Zumba class held on Wednesday (5:30-6:30 pm)
Contact: 845-693-4117; www.facebook.com/YoungsTKDInc