After spending time volunteering at Windsor schools as a watchdog for violence and bullying, Matt Schildt decided he would take his background in martial arts and open a karate dojo to teach self-defense and anti-bullying skills.
Schildt began teaching classes out of the American Legion in January.
After filling a couple of classes, he decided to open Kaizen Karate and Self Defense at 1215 Main St., Unit H, in March to teach both kids and adults.
“Kaizen is the Japanese term for continuous improvement,” Schildt said. “That, to me, is what the martial arts is all about. Improving your character and self esteem.”
He said his interest in volunteering dovetailed with his love of martial arts and passion to stop bullying, leading him to open the dojo.
“Bullying is a big problem these days,” Schildt said. “I got bullied growing up. You know how it is as a kid. I’m really passionate about that. That’s a big reason I volunteer up at school. You walk around with the dads and keep an eye on things.”
His anti-bullying class included skills like verbal self-defense skills, assertive behavior and self-confidence. They also learn karate skills like striking and falling and play physical games.
“When they learn self defense, kids understand that with power comes responsibility and self-defense is all about non-violence,” Schildt said. “That’s what I teach — violence is the absolute last option.”
Classes at the dojo run in the evenings on weekdays, though Schildt said he plans to add classes as he goes. He said he occasionally teaches a women’s self-defense class on Saturdays when there is interest.
He said he also is looking to find a yoga teacher who may be interested in using his space to teach yoga classes in the morning or midday.
Schildt’s martial arts background includes 9 years studying under Master Instructor Charles Orchard at Total Ryu Martial Arts in Fort Collins, where he was also an assistant instructor in the children’s karate class and a coach in the Adrenalized Confrontation Training self-defense classes.
“One of the proudest days of my life was when I earned my black belt,” Schildt said.
He suggested anyone interested in checking out his classes call him at (970) 217-0501.
“I think self-defense is great for everybody,” Schildt said. “And you get a good workout in.”