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After old academy closed, couple opens Soaring Phoenix Family Martial Arts Academy

When Dragonfly Martial Arts closed, Kim and Eric Miller stepped up to ensure a martial arts school would remain in Newberg.

“Myself and my husband and our son (who teaches), we’ve been here seven years as students,” Kim Miller said. “We didn’t want to see this die. We’ve been here for so long that this is actually like our second home. It’s family.” by: GARY ALLEN - Taking over -- Noah Staley practices kicks during the Taekwondo Kids Beginners class taught by Rhey Jauins at the Soaring Phoenix Family Martial Arts Academy. Soaring Phoenix opened last month replacing Dragonfly Martial Arts at 111 N. College St.

Eric Miller said a lot of parents were asking that the school not close. So Nov. 27, the Millers opened their own academy in the same 111 N. College St. space, naming it the Soaring Phoenix Family Martial Arts Academy.

“For the students that we had, we talked with each parent and asked if they want to continue and we’re (actually) getting new students,” Kim Miller said.

The school has about 40 students, with a few returning.

“A couple of students came back when they heard we took over,” she said.

But they hope to grow the academy.

“When we were training, we had closer to 75 or 80, so we’d really like to see it grow,” she said.

Eric Miller said the school has been here for 12 years, but it’s changed in a way he’d like to reverse.

“At one time the school was a part of the community; it kind of drifted away from that,” he said. “We’d like to see it go back.”

The first event to ingrain the business into the community is in the planning stages.

“I know working for the state the governor does a food drive in February and that’s to restock the pantries,” Kim Miller said. “We’re already putting that in as something we’re doing. Any food we collect will go right to (Newberg) F.I.S.H.”

Although they said they like the current space, if the school grows as they hope, they’d like to relocate.

“We like the location, but if we’re able to grow we’ll need more space,” Kim Miller said.

As for the business end of things, the process is fairly new to the Millers, as Kim works for the Oregon Department of Education and Eric for Intel.

“We’ve never done this so we’ve reached out to some friends who own businesses in town for help,” she said.

But Taekwondo is something they know plenty about and it will continue to be the main focus of the academy.

“We try to take in other martial art techniques that are normally not traditional,” Eric Miller said.

The school will offer aikido, tai chi and mixed martial arts, which he said is really more like grappling.

“We try to offer a little bit of everything,” he said.

For more information, visit www.soaringphoenixacademy. com.

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