High Altitude Martial Arts – Shan Er

Steve and Betsy Schwettman are the people behind Altitude Martial Arts, offering martial arts training at the Gilpin County Community Center. They currently offer kickboxing training, as well as beginner martial arts classes for children ages 4-6 called Kinder Kicks. Schwettmans is currently exploring other products, such as cardio kickboxing and self-defense workshops.

Both Steve and Betsy Schwettman have years of martial arts experience. “My wife and I are black belts in the Gilpin martial arts system, so we’ll continue to offer programs in the field for over 30 years,” Steve said.

He continued, “Our mentors, Masters Imy Rich and Master Jim Beasley, continue to be involved, taking part in many of our classes to help all of our students bring out the best in them. We are also a Lakewood-based kickboxing school in the mountains. Member of the martial arts academy system. This means our students have access to coaches from several Front Range martial arts schools and can compete with students from the Denver metro area.”

Not only did they continue the business, but their experience made the course even better. It’s not always an easy journey.

Gilpin County has had martial arts programs for over 30 years. When the Gilpin County Community Center reopened after the pandemic shut down, many fitness classes and other programs had to be restructured to be run by independent contractors due to budget concerns.

“As a black belt in the Gilpin Taekwondo program, my wife and I both knew that keeping the program alive was the right thing to do,” says Steve. “Before starting my own technical consulting business in 2001, I was a software company vice president. Despite the inherent difficulties of running a business as an independent business, my 20 years of experience running a business has helped relaunch Gilpin’s martial arts program. “

Those working with Schwettmans include Master Imy Rich, who has 25 years of kickboxing training experience and is a certified Pilates instructor. Also working with Altitude is Master Jim Beasley, a Tai Chi instructor with 25 years of Taekwondo experience. They are also members of the Colorado Wood Pass Taekwondo Association, led by master John Rankin. Grandmaster Rankin is the eighth-level Grandmaster of the Taekwondo Association.

They are all working hard to keep the business alive and provide the best experience for the participants. It pays to see their faces as they progress in both experience and belt color, Schwettmans said.

Instructors also strive to be the best teachers they can be by continuing to train in multiple martial arts systems, regularly attending seminars and self-defense drills. They then brought the sum of this knowledge back to Gilpin’s classroom. They’re always looking for new training methods to add fun and keep students exciting every step of the way.

The pandemic halted all activities at the Gilpin Community Center, and many former students moved out during that time. Due to the nature of kickboxing training, the more students involved, the more interesting the experience for everyone. To get back to the pre-pandemic stage, more people would have to sign up to bring the program back to a rolling state, while still having innovative ways to move the process forward.

Steve said: “In the future, we want to have enough engagement that we can have classes in key areas like self-defense, aerobic kickboxing, and even kickboxing classes by age group. We’re seeing renewed interest in kickboxing across the country, Because the pandemic appears to have led to a shift towards healthier lifestyles.

“We hope others will discover what my family has: the balanced full-body workout and stretching you get in kickboxing, along with the mental benefits, that are great for all ages.”

So what’s stopping you from enjoying this wonderful experience?

They are located at 250 Norton Avenue, Blackhawk, within the Gilpin County Community Center. If you’re interested in seeing what they can do, you can find them on YouTube at www.youtube.com/c/MountainAdventures1. You can also connect with them via Facebook at www.facebook.com/AltitudeMA or on the website www.AltitudeMA.com/.

Sponsored by the Gilpin County Commissioner with funding from the American Rescue Program Act.

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