Baldwinsville just became home to the newest LaVallee's karate studio.
On Monday April 7, LaVallee's USA Black Belt Champions, a satellite of the school's Liverpool location, moved to the Smokey Hollow Road Plaza in the village. Sensei Kim Andrello and Chris Chapin will run the studio.
LaVallee's is blended martial arts system, which means that they have taken aspects of many forms of martial arts to create their program. The system includes features of Kenpo, Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, kickboxing and weapons training.
Andrello is a fifth-degree black belt, making her one of the highest-ranking females in the LaVallee's system. She is a mother of four and the former ISKA Women's Northeastern Lightweight Kickboxing Champion. She has been training with LaVallee's for 23 years.
She began training because her father was a police officer who knew the importance of learning valuable self-defense skills. She said that not only was she able to learn these skills at LaVallee's, but she did so while participating in a fun, healthy activity.
Chapin is a fourth-degree black belt and began training in 1991 at the age of six. His parents enrolled him in the martial arts to build his self-esteem and channel his energy, and he has since become a skilled martial artist and passionate instructor.
Andrello said that LaVallee's offers classes for people of all ages, and has a family-friendly atmosphere. In fact, her husband, Jim, is a sixth-degree black belt and the Master Instructor at the Liverpool studio. Three of their four children also participate in the program, as does Andrello's mother.
"We have students of all ages and stages of life," Andrello said. "Our students, who range in age from 4 years old to 64 years old, all see the values and benefits of the martial arts."
For children aged four to six, LaVallee's offers a special program called Little Champions. This program focuses on improving attention span, developing balance and motor skills, and teaching the importance of listening skills and respect.