Brian Miller understands this and has created an all-in-one place to enrich children’s minds, bodies and souls with the opening of The Soul Center on Route 50 in Saratoga Springs.
“Under one roof there are all these different programs,” said Miller, who operates Cutting Edge Martial Arts, located in The Soul Center. “We are offering fitness, wellness, sports and arts for mind, body and soul.”
As a youth, Miller played football and was involved with martial arts. He later played in a band and as an adult, he secured a degree in psychology. Eight years ago, he opened The Cutting Edge, gearing his classes toward children and young adults who wanted to master the discipline of martial arts.
At the same time, his wife, a massage therapist, had an office – Massage at Saratoga – in the Putnam Market building. With rents in the downtown area beginning to skyrocket, the couple started exploring ways to blend the two businesses under one roof. Two years ago, they moved to their new location on Route 50 in the Price Chopper plaza, starting a dream the two shared to create a space, under one roof, where children and adults could pursue different programs.
“I look at sports like an art – to be good at it, to enjoy it requires a certain artistic skill,” explained Miller. “All these things interlock.”
Continuing on his road to have more programs in the same space, all cohesively working together, Miller brought in Saratoga Fit Boot Camp and Halcyon Taiji, an ancient Chinese self-defense art. He soon added The Slugger’s Den, a baseball training facility and most recently, Capital Area Music Project, CAMP. Each is an individual business, with their own clientele, but work together to offer a wider choice of programs to enrich the mind, body and soul.
“These [businesses] are all related and all are unique,” explained Miller, adding that not all children enjoy the same activities. While some, he said may want to learn martial arts, another may rather be playing an instrument, learning to sing or slugging a baseball.
“The parents can be getting a massage while the child is in martial arts,” said Miller. “The child may have a sibling who’d rather be doing music or baseball. They can get all of that under one roof.”
Another aspect unique to The Soul Center is that Miller is already operating a summer program, after-school program and school break program through his martial arts program. The Cutting Edge picks up the children who are enrolled from local elementary and middle schools with a 30 passenger bus and 15-passenger van and take them to the academy where they have a structured enrichment discussion and then a 50-minute class. After class, there is a break room where kids can get a snack and either wind down or get a head start on their homework.
During the summer the program is expanded with no minimum or maximum number of days and each day of camp there is a curriculum of character education lessons, games and a recreation room. There is a high definition television for movie hour and educational outings to museums, swimming and to the state park.
Miller said he is really excited about the recent addition of the music program.
With an acoustically sound music room, designed with a stage-like presence and a high definition projector that will give practicing bands and students the illusion of playing before an audience, Miller said bringing the arts into the fitness realm is a dream come true.
“We are offering piano lessons, voice lessons, percussion and guitar,” he said. “Now kids can add music lessons or baseball [to their programs.] With this hybrid program, they can have two days of music if they want and three days of baseball, or however they want to mix it up.”
He said he has just hired the music teachers, each with a rich background in the music world.
“They are great teachers with similar goals,” said Miller. “It will be great character education. This is a dream come true. Our goal is to be able to provide all of our different passions. It is a positive environment for kids – a safe, fun and educational place away from home.”
To learn more about The Soul Center, call Miller at (518) 587-5501 or visit their website at www.soulcentersaratoga.com. The Soul Center is located at 175 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga Springs.