After years in a cramped, dark facility in a non-descript area of town, Black Lotus Kickboxing is moving into a much bigger, much better home.
“We are thrilled to finally be moving out of our tiny dojo and moving into a bigger space … much bigger,” said Nic Langman, who co-owns the business with his partner, Jessica McCutcheon.
The dynamic duo purchased Sunshine Racquet and Fitness Club. The Kitchener Street facility was owned and operated by Terry Knight for almost four decades. He recently decided to retire.
While Langman and McCutcheon plan to use the facility for their growing kickboxing enterprise, they also vow to maintain all the amenities Sunshine club members have come to expect. With that in mind, they have rearranged the space and have begun interior updating and refreshing.
“We didn’t want to take anything away from the current members,” said McCutcheon. “We’re not increasing the price. We only want to add more value to their memberships.”
Langman knows it may not be an easy transition for long-time club members. “A lot of them have been going to Sunshine Fitness since the doors were opened, and it’s an emotional transition for many of them,” said Langman, who grew up aroound the facility as a young child. His parents played squash and were social members of the gym.
The opportunity to move and expand was one they just couldn’t pass up.
“We are upgrading from around 800 square feet of floor space and barely being able to move, to an over 11,000-square-foot facility, with multiple floor spaces and a fully-equipped weight training area,” enthused Langman.
He said classes became so crammed at their previous location on Powley Street that they stopped advertising. Now, there is plenty of space for current and future kickboxers.
The new facility is being christened as the Black Lotus Academy of Martial Arts and Fitness.
“We are thrilled to be offering more than just kickboxing,” said Langman. “We will finally be launching our Grappling Arts program and have top-quality athletes to teach it.”
With the move, Black Lotus will become the largest martial arts and fitness facility north of the GTA, he said. But their approach will not change.
“It’s important to understand kickboxing isn’t about fighting and our main goal isn’t getting people ripped,” explained McCutcheon. “Martial arts does more for your mental health than you can imagine. We have had countless members tell us they fear to think of where they would be if they hadn’t found our dojo. That is what has fueled our passion to keep moving forward, even when we had 30 members, could barely pay our bills and were ready to close our doors.”
The pair say they look forward to taking on the challenge of running a large fitness centre.
“It’s what we love to do,” said Langman. “We seem to have a habit of taking on any of life’s challenges and smashing them together. It hasn’t been easy and it’s absolutely terrifying to make such a big move, but every member, every smile and every story we hear makes it all worth it.”
Black Lotus Academy will officially open at its new location on July 3. Already, classes are underway at the 10 Kitchener St. location.
“It’s been a goal of ours for a long time to make this happen,” said McCutcheon, noting they will be offering a family pricing. “We have kids of our own and know that there are only a few useable hours in the evenings. Most parents sacrifice so their kids can participate in something. With our new location, everyone can work out at once.”
She said their programs are tailored to people of all ages. “We start martial arts at three years old, so Mom and Dad can use the fully-stocked fitness area and cardio machines or do the instructed fitness classes! It’s pretty amazing and we’re so excited!”