For 40 years, the Revere Karate Academy has trained tens of thousands of local youths who developed a lifelong appreciation for the martial arts.
In addition to a love of the sport and a mastery of self-defense techniques that are so important today, students learn self-confidence and discipline and the lesson all aspiring athletes eventually learn: practice makes perfect.
Two names ring true when discussing the consistently excellent instruction and the positive energy inside the famed studio on Broadway: Associate Professor of American Kenpo Anthony Cogliandro and his mother, legendary Grand Master Doreen DiRienzo.
Together they have more than 60 years of experience in the ownership of the studio.
“She taught me everything I know, but not everything she knows,” said Anthony with the smile of an appreciative son.
But in these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 global pandemic, everything from the pursuit of international karate championships and the weekly conducting of lessons for students of all ages – has been put on hold at Revere Karate Academy.
Professor Cogliandro, an international grand champion himself, talked about the “why” as in why the studio is not open in an interview this week.
“We fall under Phase 3 of the Governor’s plan,” explained Cogliandro. “I just think it’s incredibly unfair to open some establishments and not open others, especially ones that are client based like ours – along with gyms, yoga studios, and dance studios, and things like that.”
Cogliandro said the situation is “very frustrating.”
“I’m thrilled for barber shops and that places like that are able to open again, but it’s not fair to the rest of us and we’re all suffering – everyone is losing revenue and some places are having to close.”
He said the studio is ready to follow all social distancing guidelines.
“We want to wear masks, we want to sanitize everything, we want to do six-feet apart [social distancing], but let us,” said Cogliandro. “If you trust us to have a business in your community, especially us with 40-plus years now – you can trust us with a new set of guidelines.”
Cogliandro made it clear that he does not fault Mayor Brian Arrigo for the studio not being allowed to open its doors.
“This does not fall on Mayor Arrigo whatsoever – this is a state-level decision,” said Cogliandro. “The Mayor is doing his part to follow the rules and I can appreciate his job – he’s a good man.”
The next phase of the business re-opening plan will not begin until June 29 or perhaps later.
“We’re ready to open now,” said Cogliandro, who has been teaching on-line classes through Zoom.
For the record, three other RKA students have joined Anthony Cogliandro and Doreen DiRienzo as occupants of the throne as international grand champions.
Professor Cogliandro and Grand Master DiRienzo were hoping to bring more glory to their Academy in April, but the 70-person trip of students and their families to Ireland for the International Championships was canceled due to COVID-19.
Also postponed was a gala RKA 40th anniversary dinner celebration that was scheduled for May 16 at Casa Lucia.
For now, Revere’s first family of the martial arts is just hoping to open up its doors and welcome back its 200-plus students, from ages 2 to 62, to the world of karate.
“We should be allowed to be opened with new guidelines – end of story,” said Anthony Cogliandro.