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MASTER JOSE LUIS AND ELYSE ACANDA

January 31, 2012 12:10 am

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FAMILY: Talia Luisa, 5, and Joaquin Orion, 2

EDUCATION: Master Jose was educated in Cuba and trained by the elite Cuban Sports Federation in Olympic-style tae kwon do. Elyse Acanda holds degrees from George Mason University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

FIRST JOB: Tae kwon do instructor at a junior high school in the province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba.

WORST JOB: Loaner car manager at a car dealer in Chantilly.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? A police officer.

HOW DID YOU END UP OWNING BOA MARTIAL ARTS INC.? We moved to Fredericksburg and opened the school from scratch in March 2010.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DECISION YOU'RE WRESTLING WITH NOW? Soon we will need to renegotiate our lease with the shopping center or decide to move to a different location.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR JOB? I wish more of our parents would do tae kwon do with their kids and get active. We love seeing parents set a positive example and take good care of themselves!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB NOW? We really enjoy the little communities that we've built--BOA is home to our tae kwon do families, our kickboxing and jiujitsu students, and our Heart to the Sky Yoga Space devotees. I love seeing the positive impact that training has on my students, and my wife really loves sharing yoga with all her students.

WHO WAS AND IS YOUR HERO? When I was a kid, my hero was Fidel Castro because that's what I was taught to believe. Now, I look up to everyone who takes care of their families and works hard to improve.

WHO WAS YOUR MENTOR AND WHAT WAS THE BEST ADVICE THEY GAVE YOU? Joaquin Palacios, my principal trainer in Cuba. The best advice he ever gave me was to always try to do the right thing and to help people.

WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT THE BUSINESS CLIMATE HERE? In the United States, you can open any business and, through hard work and confidence, anyone can succeed.

HAVE YOU EVER WORKED WITH A NOTABLE PERSON OR CELEBRITY? IF SO, WHO? I was friends with Hector Lombard back in Cuba. He's a famous UFC fighter now but wasn't when I knew him.

WHAT BUSINESS BOOK DO YOU RECOMMEND THE MOST AND WHY? "Rework" by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, because it's straight up common sense.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST CAREER ACHIEVEMENT? I am proud of my students' achievements and my own dedication to deliver consistent, great service to my students every day.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE THINKING ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS RIGHT NOW? Build up their confidence and do the research, so they can be sure they know what they're doing.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LIKELY TO BE DOING WHEN NOT WORKING? Spending time with my family, we love spending time at the parks and river here in Fredericksburg.

WHO WOULD YOU RATHER SPEND TIME WITH, WARREN BUFFETT, DORIS BUFFETT OR JIMMY BUFFETT? Definitely Warren Buffett.

540/287-3865; boamartialarts.com

--As told to Craig Schulin




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