45 Years Later

Written by Kathy Olevsky on Friday, 30 November 2018. Posted in All About Martial Arts

Our years as a Martial Arts Family

KI 45YRS 445 Years in Business with my family

By Kathy Olevsky

Today is one of those many days where I sit down to write and realize that I have had a great life filled with daily martial arts. In early 2019, Mr. Olevsky and I will celebate the 45th Year that Karate International has been open in the Triangle. His instructor, Mr. Jan Wellendorf opened Karate International of Raleigh in 1974. Mr. O. and I took over the school from Mr. Wellendorf in 1979.


In 1979, I was a green Belt and Mr. O was a 2nd Degree Black Belt. We made our first official decision as business owners and asked Mr. Wellendorf to teach for us and run the dojo for a 10 days while we took a vacation. Looking back on that time, I can’t imagine that this decision was an intelligent decision for new business owners. In any case, we drove across the country together in Mr. O’s tiny Datsun (yes, I said Datsun, that was a type of vehicle back then) Pickup truck. We slept in the back of the pick up truck and made our way from North Carolina to California and back in 10 days. We had brief stopovers in Maryland, Denver, Yellowstone Park, Las Vegas, Malibu and Phoenix. It was a crazy trip, covering nearly 3500 miles in 10 days.

We came back from the trip and have been in the business of the martial arts ever since. Our school has been open from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm every day. There were children that came along and now grandchildren. We have made our share of mistakes and had our share of successes. As a matter of fact, I write a column for a national magazine every month about all the mistakes I’ve made as a small business owner. I have never run out of material in the seven years I’ve written this monthly column. 

Today I decided I should write about the successes. I have spent a lifetime in business with my family. First it was just Mr. O and I. Eventually, Josh came into the business, sweeping the floors as a 15 year old. After Josh graduated from High School, he went his own way in the world and within a few years, our daughter Casey started working at our front counter. We have had various other family members work for us over the years. Some of you may know our nephew, Brian Bass who used to teach for us.

Obviously, Mr. Josh decided that the family business was not so bad after all and he has been working with us for the past 19 years. Casey went on to college and has graduated and started her own business and is living in Washington, DC. We have a great family dynamic and we all have grown to be successful and happy through this business. Mr. O and I are lucky enough to be requested as speakers and instructors at martial arts events all over the world. We have traveled the US and have been to Europe and Australia.

Our greatest successes, however, are our students. We have watched timid beginner students as children grow into confident Black Belt adults. We have taught the grandchildren of people that Mr. O and I taught when they were just children. We have Black Belts like Mr. Moss, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Buckmaster, Mr. Maidon, Ms. Fowler and Ms. Horne, who have trained in our dojo forever.   There are too many to name in a few short sentences.

Our success is that our business has always allowed us to have an extended family through our students. We have cherished the 45 years and we look forward to all the years ahead. As most of you know, Mr. O will never quench his thirst for martial arts knowledge. We are happy all of you have shared some time with us and we look forward to teaching your children and grandchildren!

About the Author

Kathy Olevsky

Kathy Olevsky

Kathy Olevsky, 8th Degree Black Belt, has taught Karate with her husband, Rob, since 1979.  She is an active instructor, manager and author in the martial arts.  

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