We recently connected with Kikin Ucelo and have shared our conversation below.
Kikin , thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Risk taking is something we’re really interested in and we’d love to hear the story of a risk you’ve taken.
It was the end of the year 2000 when I decided to come back to the US from my homeland Guatemala, leaving everything behind, my family, my girlfriend and my friends seeking an opportunity to grow and a better life, like many immigrants of this great nation. It was on the holiday of Presidents day of 2001 that I decided to visit Az for the first time. I was at the time working as an instructor at Grandmaster Jun Chong’s dojo in North Hollywood ( the old Cobra Kai Dojo), while coming in my car broke down. With no money , but with the huge and forever thankful support of a couple friends, and a out of this world opportunity, I was able to open the first UMA Dojo here in Arizona. It was a tuesday morning , a week or so after i arrived, as we had breakfast at a local restaurant. Sitting on the table beside us, we overheard 2 gentlemen talking about their necessity of renting out a car showroom. My friend said that’s your chance to open your own Dojo. I said I have no money , he said I’ll buy your broken car just do it So we went to see the place less then a mile away and the story of Ucelo Martial Arts here in Arizona began with a bang on March 17 of 2001 to this date. 2 years later I handed down that Dojo to my father who is my master and went to open the now well known Ucelo Martial Arts Phoenix DOJO which has been there since Oct of 2003
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
Hahaha, I get this question alot. When did I start Martial arts…. Well my story isn’t like many that they were bullied or any of that nature. My story starts before I was born, you see, my father, when I was born was already a black belt in Karate so I basically grew up inside the dojo. As soon i learned to walk I was kicking, my father’s tells the story that as a baby he would stretch me and wrap my hand on his index finger so he could make me punch
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
Can you share a story of your resilience… Of course, owning a buisness is all about adapting, evolving as you attend the necessities of your customers. For me as I know for many the one that comes to my mind easy was March of 2020. “COVID” OH MY GOD! What a crazy moment, we said we will close for a week that turned into two and that turned into 2months for us here in Arizona. After the first week, seeing the news we knew we had to do something… We took it to social media to stay in touch with all our students, started to record and leave classes in a private group for them to do on their own time. That fire lasted very little and accountability was low. So we had to adapt and fully go online. Zoom, came to the rescue… We adapted schedules and worked like that for the duration of the closure. But that’s not all, during those two months, technology and even covid hit me. Good thing we were alone at the Dojo with my family, I was able to teach threw it all with crazy headaches, knowing that we could not let my student lose interest nor the moment we were now gaining through the online training. I do have to say my family is my strength and I couldn’t have done it with out them. My wife on the controls and even taking the classes, my 3 kids were their supporting and training the whole time. It is easy to find motivation with in your own home.
Can you open up about how you funded your business?
As many entrepreneurs the fire to jump in , the vision of a future was always there. My story begins with a broken car, which was my only asset and the opportunity to start my dream business, a martial arts school. I Truly believe that as a entrepreneur you have to seek the answer and not drown on the problem. so, I sold my 1989 Honda Prelude, which there and then you can see it wasn’t much. A couple of friends pitched in and my father let me have some money.
- Website: ucelomartialartsphoenix.com
- Instagram: Kikinucelo
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1051005733
- Twitter: Uceloma
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/c/UceloMartialArts
- Other: Instagram: @ucelomartialartsphoenix.com email: email@example.com
Monica Ucelo Yai Ucelo Taro Ucelo Milas Ucelo Ucelo Martial Arts Phoenix