Gilroy Today 2010 06 Summer - Page 12

G I L R O Y’ S G O T P R OS Linda Pulido By Kelly Barbazette Just as martial arts helped Pulido find her footing – and eventually her calling in life, the 41-year-old martial arts instructor hopes to challenge youths to push themselves to be the best person they can be. “I think martial arts kind of saved my life,” Pulido said. Born and raised in Gilroy, Pulido remembers as a teen running with the wrong crowd and wanting to find a way to “fight better.” What she found in a Gilroy martial arts studio instead was discipline and guidance. A competitive athlete, she said she was instantly hooked. “It made me feel good what I was accomplishing,” Pulido recalls. “It was a natural high.” Pulido owns Pulido Pro Fitness on Third Street in east Gilroy. In its third incarnation – from her garage to this spacious window and mirror-filled building – the studio boasts 360 members. Nearly 100 members are teens and preteens. A personal trainer and kickboxing instructor, Pulido also teaches self-defense workshops, gives talks to school-age children and teaches martial arts to girls from Rebekah Children’s Center. She said there are many youths who feel badly because of their weight and don’t feel like they fit in. Martial arts gives youths the self-confidence to not follow the crowd, to stand up for themselves and be a leader, she said. “Confident kids equal success. They’re a lot stronger to put down peer pressure,” Pulido said. For Linda Pulido, martial arts isn’t just about kicking and punching or how many stripes adorn her black belt. It’s about the lives she helps change each time she teaches a young person the discipline of the sport and the satisfaction of not giving up when it gets hard. 12 G I L R O Y T O D A Y S P R I N G 2 0 1 0