BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT:

Vincent J. Rodricks’ resume is a sight to behold.

The martial arts grandmaster currently holds an eighth-degree dan black belt in taekwondo from Korea; an eighth-degree dan black belt in hapkido from the World Hapkido Assn. in Korea and an eighth-degree black belt from the Japanese Shotokan Karate Assn. in Japan.

Rodricks also represents the Okinawa Karate Federation. He is affiliated with taekwondo and hapkido associations in Korea; and martial arts, taekwondo and karate associations in the U.S. And he recently received the lifetime achievement award from the Kukkiwon, the headquarters of the World Taekwondo Federation in Korea, commemorating his 48 years in martial arts.

But of all of his accomplishments, the No. 1 thing he’d rather do is teach.

Opening Andre’s Martial Arts in the Burbank Town Center is a dream come true for Rodricks, who sees his mall location as the ideal spot to draw families in. However, Rodricks is not new to the area. He moved from his old location on San Fernando Boulevard in June, a small move compared to the five countries he has trained in, including the Middle East and Eastern Europe. His studio is named after his son, Andre, who is an officer in the Marines and a third-degree black belt in his own right.

“This location has helped so much,” says Rodricks right after talking with a parent about possible karate classes for his young daughter. “I have so many people that come in now.”

Soon after, another parent came in with her young son inquiring about children’s classes.

“My school is more like a family than a business,” said Rodricks. “I’ve never, ever made money in this business. My goal is not to be a millionaire. My goal is to teach children. I have children [who are] one-fourth of my class.”

And for those whose family are going through hard times, Rodricks offers to teach them for free.

“I’m teaching you. It’s got nothing to do with the money,” he said. Helping people is what Rodricks’ father instilled in him, he says. “Helping people is a virtue. It’s not a bad thing.”

Rodricks caters to students of all ages. His youngest student is 2, and his oldest is 50.

Rodricks began his training in martial arts in his 20s while working as a manager for an airline in the Middle East. He was also a musician and was once in a 10-piece band. Due to his extensive travels working for the airline, the young Rodricks was never able to settle down long enough to train in martial arts. While playing at a local club, Rodricks befriended Paul Evans, the club’s manager, who also happened to be a martial arts instructor.

“I have a really stressful job,” said student and white belt Stephen Roos of North Hollywood. “I was stressed out every day after work to the point where I couldn’t sleep well. I started coming here, and I am not stressed out at all.”

Roos has been taking classes at Andre’s for about a month. A solutions architect for a computer consulting firm, Roos would find himself working long hours.

Rodricks’ classes for kids 2 to 11 run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 to 11 a.m. Saturdays. His classes for adults and kids 12 and older are from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday.

For more information, call the studio at (818) 843-2637.


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