[KHTS] – Ekata Training Center and Urban Retreat officials celebrated a new location for their nontraditional fitness center Thursday evening.
Owners JoAnn Wabisca and Ed Monaghan, of Santa Clarita, hosted the ribbon-cutting ceremony with their partners, Dr. Michael Lill and Stephen Browning II, at their new 12,500-square-foot facility on Smyth Drive.
“We had too many students and too small a space,” Monaghan said. “We were able to expand to a facility that allowed for us everything that we’ve always wanted to do, to basically put everything under one roof.”
Ekata is a fitness center that offers martial arts training, acupuncture, massage, nutritional coaching, a study hall and free tutoring for children.
Monaghan and his wife, Wabisca, have been planning the move for a few years now, and after about a year of construction, were able to move into their new location about six weeks ago.
“Our general guiding theme is a merger between eastern tradition and western technology,” he said, “so it allows for us to be able to do that… Now we have a full gym with all kinds of martial arts, training and treatments from massage and acupuncture, as well as a variety of different traditions.”
Ceremony guests included Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Capt. Roosevelt Johnson, Sen. Steve Knight and representatives from the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, Assemblyman Scott Wilk’s office, Rep. Buck McKeon’s office, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich’s office and the William S. Hart Union School District.
Attendees were given a tour of the facility and the opportunity to learn about the center’s guiding philosophies, as well as the variety of services and classes they offer.
The center surrounds the theme of “exert, heal and rejuvenate,” Monaghan said, and gears all their services toward meeting the needs of the whole family.
“We’ve put everything under one roof, so a child can come in and have a healthy snack, go to study hall and do homework with free tutoring and then go do a fitness class,” he said. “All the while, Mom can slip out and get a massage, go to the meditation room and just be still, work out in the gym, or do her own class like yoga or tai chea. And Dad can go to classes like boxing or kickboxing.”
The official grand opening is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, when Ekata officials will hold a free summer kickoff celebration for the community featuring a number of classes, program demonstrations, food samples, prizes and giveaways. On Saturday only, live shows with Spiderman are planned with photo opportunities afterward.
All proceeds from the sales of photos with Spiderman will go to the WiSH Education Foundation, which supports William S. Hart Union High School District.
“Our whole philosophy is wrapped around this principle of ancient tradition so that you’re engaged in the present moment, in appreciation of living life rather than sort of blowing past the moment,” Monaghan said. “Its approaching life from a perspective that is calm, peaceful and enjoyable, because that’s really ultimately what we all want to do– we just want to be happy.”
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