This week for our Meet the Owners feature, we interviewed Vito DeMola, principal of Shinjitusu Self Defense, located at 480-5 Patchogue-Holbrook Road in Holbrook. Shinjitsu Self Defense was recently chosen as the "Best Gym/Fitness Center" in our . Below are DeMola' responses in the hot seat.
Patch: What is your background, as far as self-defense and training is concerned.
DeMola: My name is Vito DeMola; I am married to Lisa and we have three children, Vito III 23, Danielle 21 and Michael 11. I began training when I was 10 years old and continued for the past 43 years. I am a 10th degree Black Belt in Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and have eight Hall of Fame inductions. I have taught a wide range of students ranging from special needs children to law enforcement agencies as well as military personnel. I have been teaching Jiu-Jitsu since I was 22 years old and will continue to do so until I am no longer physically and mentally able.
Patch: Is this a family-run business? Who else helps you run the dojo?
DeMola: I teach with my oldest son Vito. Vito is a college graduate from Dowling College, majoring in business. Vito played lacrosse for Dowling. In Vito's senior year Dowling won the National Championship in Lacrosse and Vito was named the game MVP. I started training Vito at 2 years old and he continues his training today. Vito has won many tournaments and been Grand Champion many times. Many of our higher rank students have a part in teaching our classes and it is their hard work and dedication that helps us to achieve the goals we set for all our students.
Patch: Was there a reason for this location? Why Holbrook?
DeMola: In 1992 my family moved into the Holbrook area. Having grown up in the Sachem School District myself we knew that Holbrook was where we wanted to raise our family. Holbrook has a wonderful community and our school will always stay in the Holbrook area. I feel that living in the area shows a more personal connection to your business and allows customers to relate to us better because we are also neighbors.
Patch: What do you enjoy the most about your business?
DeMola: When I first opened my school it was so that I could teach my first son, that was what inspired me and drove me to teach on a daily basis. When you truly believe in something and know the benefits that it has given you in your life you naturally want to pass those values on to your children. Then as the school grew I would always teach all my classes the way I would train my own children. This passion is what has and will always be why we are successful. I enjoy seeing my students grow mentally and physically. Passing on to them the Bushido Code, the code of the Warrior. It's all about honesty, integrity, dedication and loyalty.
Patch: What reasons do you think your gym was chosen as the Readers Choice 2012 for Best Gym/Fitness Center?
DeMola: I think we were chosen because the quality of our classes and the time we spend with each and every student. They are our priority. I think another reason is that I am at the school every day to ensure that all my students needs are met at all times. Our school has grown tremendously, we have students that start with us as young as 3-years-old and are with us until they leave for college. One of the greatest feelings as an instructor is when my students, who are away at college, visit or come to work out over vacations. It really is something special to see someone grow right in front of you, physically, as a person, and as a martial artist.
Patch: Any specials or promotions you're running this time of year?
DeMola: At the present time we are running a back to school special, $39.95 for the first month of lessons along with a free custom uniform and belt.
Patch: Anything else you'd like to add about your business?
DeMola: Community service is something we strongly believe in. For years we have partnered with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops to do clinics, and demonstrations. As a school we collected just last year over 200 pounds of food for Long Island Cares. If anyone is interested in involving Shinjitsu Self Defense with their organization please feel free to contact us, we are always looking for ways to better our community.
We also have dodgeball every Friday night from 7:30 to 9:30. It is a night full of games and the kids get to interact with other kids from all over the Sachem school district.