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Martial arts come to Mesilla Valley Mall; free self-defense classes for women


Under the leadership of general manager Loretta Pina, Mesilla Valley Mall (MVM) is embarking on 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,” Pina said. “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,” Pina said. “A martial arts dojo is a great way to help our residents of all ages to grow physically and mentally.”

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, the president and CEO of Guzman Sport Karate and Kickboxing, Inc.

“Master Sensei Guzman accepted my invitation to meet and explore the mall with me,” Pina said. “We discussed all the positive aspects of him locating here and he agreed to sign on.”

This is the first martial arts studio in the mall since it opened 40 years ago, Pina said, and she and Guzman are working to bring the mall’s first-ever martial arts tournament in the coming weeks.

Guzman’s 4,000 square-foot MVM location is called Guzman Martial Arts. His Guzman Sport Karate and Kickboxing, Inc. will continue to operate at 1203 N. Main St.

“Establishing a second location at MVM 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 currently has approximately 65 students at the mall location and the number is growing.

Guzman’s programs include youth martial arts, Mauy Thai kickboxing, takedown sparring, self-defense and birthday parties. He said he also offers free self-defense classes for women at 7 p.m. Thursdays at MVM and is considering including Zumba and yoga classes.

During his Aug. 28 grand opening at MVM, Guzman held a belt ceremony at which time he received his eighth-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 2001-08 before relocating to north Main Street.

Guzman Martial Arts is across from the food court near the north end of MVM.

Mesilla Valley Mall is at 700 S. Telshor Blvd. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.  More information is available online at www.mesillavalleymall.com.

Class schedules and other information is available at the dojo and at guzmandojo.com.

Contact Pina 575-522-1001. Contact Guzman at 575-644-9083.

Guzman Martial Arts