There's A New Dojo in Town: Villari's Self Defense Center Is Now Open in Boerne!
Some of you may remember the post I wrote back in June about “Hill Country Transplants & Why They Move Here.” Well, one of the families who offered to share their story for that piece was the Gervais. From that post we know that Jennilee Gervais had spent some time in San Antonio while in the ARMY and simply “fell in love with Texas - the people, the culture, and the food.” As with all military assignments though, her time in Texas was limited and she eventually returned to her home state of Maine. Fast forward a few frigid winters and she, her husband Troy, and their three adorable kiddos were ready for a change. So, the family moved to Texas from Maine in 2017, despite having no family or real connections here, to “experience a different life” and “show [their] children there is a world outside of what they’d been used to; that you can leave the familiar, and it will be okay.”
(All photos courtesy of Troy and Jennilee Gervais)
Well, that seems to have held true for the family as they’ve settled into their new Hill Country home just fine…and have apparently been very busy, working to become Boerne business owners as well! Villari’s Self Defense Center opened on Main Street last week, so I reached out to ask a few questions, including whether or not there are any GRAND OPENING specials for those of us who’d like to give it a try. Spoiler alert: the answer is YES. Check it out!
Sowing Seeds (SS): Tell me about your martial arts experience/training/certification/etc...what is your story?
Troy Gervais (TG): I’ve been studying the martial arts since 1996 when my father reintroduced me to them by way of Shaolin Kempo Karate (SKK). I continued my studies as a full-time student until 2004 when I had the opportunity to purchase the dojo where I had started my training. After more than fourteen years of owning a business, pursuing my passion through continuous training, and being able to share it with others, I’ve earned the rank of 6th Dan in SKK. I continue my studies under the tutelage of 10th Dan David Boise of Plattsburgh New York, one of Grandmaster Villari’s most knowledgeable in his art. I also attained a very basic knowledge of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, earning the rank of blue belt. I opened a second dojo in 2014 and operated both until our move in 2017. I honestly love the martial arts and being able to help folks accomplish big things through their own personal study.
SS: What makes the Villari's training/fighting system unique?
TG: Founded by Grandmaster Fred Villari in 1968, the SKK system has been evolving and growing for fifty years! Since its inception, we’ve grown to include over 500 schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Villari’s system is different in that we train to include all four ways of fighting: striking, kicking, felling and grappling. More traditional styles only emphasize one or two of these ways. Not only do we teach students to be well versed at defending one’s self and others, but we like to hold local and regional competitions. There, competitors have a chance to test their skills and practice respect and good sportsmanship.
SS: So, would you say your teaching style focuses more on self-defense or training for competition?
TG: As an instructor for the last fourteen years, my emphasis has been on self-defense over competition. While competition teaches a lot of things and it’s fun, the true purpose of SKK is to teach men, women, and children how to defend themselves against someone bigger. Armed with confidence learned and practiced in the dojo, a student quickly learns how to avoid the situation altogether. If they can do that, they’ve won!
SS: What would you say is your favorite part about what you do?
TG: First, being able to study and learn something new about the martial arts and myself every day. It's exciting to know that even though I've been studying over twenty years, I've really only scratched the surface. And second, having the chance to share such a positive and beneficial thing with others.
SS: And one last thing: are you currently running any Grand Opening specials or discounts you'd like folks to know about?
TG: YES! We always offer a free class to anyone interested, at any time. But right now we’re also offering a Grand Opening special of three weeks of classes with a free uniform and belt for $19.95. Bring a friend or family member and pay just $29.95 for both!
You’ll find Villari’s Self Defense in the Live Oak Shopping Center at 1018 N. Main Street in Boerne. Students are able to start as young as three to four years old in the “Lil’ Leopards” class, held on Saturday mornings. The remaining age groups enjoy classes at noon and in the evenings Monday through Thursday and Saturday mornings. Students are encouraged to attend two classes per week and private lessons are available with Master Troy Gervais.
Still have questions or want to book your kids next birthday party someplace they can have their cake sliced with a real sword(!)? Feel free to call Troy directly at (830) 331-7411, or reach out via Facebook or email at email@example.com. Also, be on the lookout for villarisboerne.com, coming soon!
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