ARDSLEY, N.Y. -- Master instructor Vinny Bellantoni and his corps of martial arts students will celebrate the United Martial Arts Center's first anniversary in the village in September with a growing family of members.
Bellantoni, whose 15 Center St. dojo, which is just a block from Route 9A, is one of seven UMAC locations around New York and New Jersey, trained under master Chris Berlow of UMAC Briarcliff for about 21 years before adding the Ardsley studio.
"Our goal is to spread the values and discipline, and to make a positive impact into the community," said Bellantoni, who was raised and educated in nearby Cortlandt. "The main Martial Art that we teach is Taekwondo. We want our students to live by values such as perseverance, integrity, respect, self Control, and keep a positive, indomitable spirit."
That core of values was evident in Bellantoni's summer camp program where more than a dozen youngsters worked with precision on skills and disciplines through August. Aside from it's full course of training for all ages, UMAC Ardsley also offers a unique after-school program, where it transports children from the local elementary schools for lessons.
"We have a Martial Arts Reading Program, where the children are reading at home, and relating the books to Taekwondo values," Bellantoni said. "Every 10 books that they read, they earn a "next level" patch, eventually becoming a "black belt" in the Martial Arts Reading Program. The reason has even more purpose than just to get children excited to read, it actually helps them start to understand how these values relate to their every day lives."
And UMAC graduates take those basic lessons through to teen and adult training.
"The adults classes and are about training hard, learning how to defend yourself, and also becoming more physically fit with a conditioning aspect to classes," Bellantoni said. "With persistence, and effort, you start to see results, then all of a sudden you want to be more healthy, and stay healthy, and you want to improve."
Bellantoni said adults students take the value of Taekwondo to their work place and home with their families as the disciplines are applied.
"We become more patient and relaxed in stress-full situations, we gain confidence to strive for more, versus just settling," the master Instructor said. "It becomes a way of living you life, which is in essence, what martial arts is truly about."
For more on the Ardsley UMAC, call 914-479-5900 or check out the dojo's Facebook page.