EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Martial Arts is set to return to the Mesilla Valley Mall under a hall-of-fame instructor thanks to a new tenant at the shopping center.
The martial arts facility at 700 S. Telshor Blvd will be under the leadership of general manager Loretta Pina, in a new initiative to expand the types of enterprises offered at the mall, including more locally-based ones.
“We want to be more inclusive of the community,” said Pina. “So we welcome Guzman Martial Arts as one of the newest members of our mall family.”
Pina said while a martial arts dojo might at first appear to be an unlikely tenant for a shopping mall, it serves as a catalyst for a host of benefits such as increased confidence, self-defense skills, physical fitness and improved mental stamina and social skills.
“One of my primary goals as mall general manager is to help bring people together. To provide a welcoming environment in which to shop, socialize and grow. A martial arts dojo is a great way to help our residents of all ages to grow physically and mentally,” Pina said.
Pina said she researches prospective tenants that appeal to the needs and desires of the community, and she determined that a martial arts studio would be a great addition. So she approached Eli Guzman, Pres/CEO at Guzman Sport Karate and Kickboxing, Inc.
“Master Sensei Guzman accepted my invitation to meet and explore the mall with me,” said Pina. “We discussed all the positive aspects of him locating here and he agreed to sign on!”
Guzman’s 4,000 square-foot mall location is called Guzman Martial Arts. His north Main Street location remains Guzman Sport Karate and Kickboxing, Inc.
“Establishing a second location at Mesilla Valley Mall appealed to me because of its centralized location and popularity as a gathering space,” Guzman said. “The mall location will make it more appealing to join a class or continue an existing program.” He added that the dojo is attracting the attention of mall visitors of various ages who express interest and request information. He currently has approximately 65 students at the mall location and the number is growing.
Guzman’s programs include youth martial arts, Mauy Thai kickboxing, take down sparring, self-defense and birthday parties. He said he also offers free self-defense classes for women on Thursdays at 7 p.m. at the mall location and he is considering expanding his programs to include Zumba and yoga classes.
Master Sensei Guzman, a two-time hall of famer, is currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of his martial arts journey. During his grand opening at the mall on Aug. 28, he held a belt ceremony at which time he received his 8th degree black belt and nearly 100-students were promoted to their new belt level. Guzman said he has taught thousands of students during the past 20 years.
He operated his first location on Mesquite Street from 2001 to 2008 before relocating to north Main Street.
Guzman Martial Arts is across from the food court near the north end of the mall. Class schedules and other information is available at the dojo and online at https://guzmandojo.com/
According to Pina, this is the first martial arts studio in the mall since it opened 40 years ago and Guzman said he and Pina are working to bring the mall’s first-ever martial arts tournament in the coming weeks.
Mesilla Valley Mall is at 700 S. Telshor Blvd. Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon-6 p.m.
For more information you can head over to: https://www.mesillavalleymall.com/