“I don’t know where it comes from,” Kellye Giles says, “when I am on the deck I’m a whole new person.” In regular conversation, Giles is polite and a little soft-spoken. But when she is out teaching karate, she switches into another gear.
Kellye Giles is fresh out of graduate school with a master’s in exercise science—and at 22 years old has just started a business. Her new martial arts studio, “Kicking for Life,” in Stapleton might feel familiar to some. It occupies the same space in Quebec Square where Mike Giles, her father, ran a karate studio—and some of his clientele has now transferred to Kellye
Kellye, however, is using her schooling to take the studio in new directions. She plans to incorporate personal training and personal fitness classes at “Kicking for Life,” which she enjoyed teaching while she was in college.
Her parents help where they can—Giles accepts their help with the business side of things. But the name of the studio comes from her readiness to take over the karate side of things: “Kicking for life? Well I’ve been doing karate for my whole life and I love kicking. That’s what I’ve grown up doing.”
While Giles says she always wanted to start her own karate school, that doesn’t mean she didn’t try some other things, just in case:
“For the longest time I was doing karate, tennis, basketball, ballet, piano. And I was just trying out new things so maybe if I didn’t like karate I could just go and do that. But I think it was more me showing people that I could do other things besides karate..” She says she may have gotten her black belt to prove herself to her dad, but she came back to karate because she loves it.
Her father, Mike, started karate in Oakland, CA. “That was during the 60s when there was a lot of turmoil. Basically it was a vehicle to keep us off the street.” After a career in the Navy, Mike started his own karate studio. He said his experience in the Navy gave him the skills to lead classes.
Kellye helped her father teach from a young age—something she plans to pass on to her students. “She lets the kids partake in the teaching,” said karate student parent Aria Boucharel —adding that the experience helped her daughter in class, building her confidence to speak publicly and give presentations.
Providing a personal and unique touch was something that Mike says he strove for when other karate schools had a more cookie-cutter approach. Looking back on her father’s career and what he did for his students, Kellye says, “Seeing the impact he made on their lives really made me want to do that same thing.”
After achieving her dream and opening Kicking for Life, Kellye’s advice to others is, “Don’t quit. Continue doing what you love, find your passion, and do whatever makes you happy.”
Kicking for Life is located at 7506 E. 36th Ave., Suite 480 (Across from Sam’s Club) in Quebec Square. Call 720-504-7084 for information.