Riverside studio under new ownership!

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Riverside studio under new ownership!

Postby justinpi » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:21 am

:D
The original Riverside Kung-Fu San Soo Studio started in 1972 by the late Master Al Rubin, then given to Master Kurt Bellman in 1992 by Al Rubin's widow Ora Rubin; has once again changed hands. Master Lee Tagney is now the new owner of the Riverside school.

Lee Tagney started training under Kurt Bellman in 1990, got his black belt in 1994 and Master in 2008. He owner a studio of his own for a short period in the mountain town of Wrightwood. Lee Tagney trained for a short period under Dave Hopkins (due to the drive from his home in the mountains), but for the most part is a Kurt Bellman student.

Lee Tagney has only had the studio for a month and positive results have already been seen. Unfortunately the Riverside school began having problems for the last couple of years. Kurt Bellman went from a single guy studio owner to a married man with 3 small children. Most Kung Fu studios don't make a lot of money and Kurt Bellman has a day job that he commutes to Orange County to actually pay the bills. Kurt Bellman said that owning the school had become more of a hobby, and his attention with the business side just was not there. His family needed him more and more at home because of the new babies. So he began to teach only black belts, leaving the other classes to be taught by black belt instructors. Like all businesses, they need constant attention to grow. Martial arts schools have huge turn over rates as it is, and with no one running business promotions and advertising, the number of students were dropping. Soon there were not enough paying students to keep the doors open and Kurt Bellman was paying out of his pocket to keep the school going. That became too much of a drain on his family's money, and he sat the black belt class down, and said something had to change, or he was going to have to close the school doors this summer.

After much thinking and discussion with a couple of other black belts / masters, Master Lee Tagney offered to take over the school. Kurt Bellman officially turned the keys over to Lee Tagney at the start of August 2009.

Lee Tagney spent weekends cleaning, painting and repairing the school that had fallen in disrepair. At the time he took over the studio, the Riverside school had zero non-black belt students, and about a dozen kids. Lee Tagney got on the telephone, and called old students to come back and see the new school. He started advertising. In the 4 weeks he has owned the school, he went from zero non-black belt adult students to 6 paying adult non-black belt students, with another 4 possible to sign up this week.

I went down to the studio last night for the first time since his take over (I have been busy with work); and there was such a new, positive vibe. I think this may be the beginning of a new, shining era for Al Rubin's old studio. I am personally helping Lee with promotional programs, and I am going to open the studio on Tuesday for him. I have been pretty negative and burned out for the last two years, but now I have some renewed energy.

Wish us luck!

Master Justin Painter
Lee Tagney's Riverside Kung-Fu San Soo Studio
www.themastersofkungfu.com
Master Justin Painter
Kurt Bellman's Riverside San Soo Studio
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Update

Postby justinpi » Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:41 pm

I just thought I would drop in and leave an update about the original Riverside, California studio. After 8 months, Lee Tagney has done a good job of turning the studio around. It was a slow start. As I had posted, there were next to no non-black belt students at the time he took over. Lee Tagney worked his tail off the first few months, spending a lot of money out of his own pocket to keep the doors open. And then the holidays hit, which have always been a slow time for our school. Because of most people's time and money are wrapped up with Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was a rough period. But after the New Year's, things picked up. Lee Tagney raised the tuition prices (which have pretty much remained the same for about a dozen years or more); more on par with other martial art schools. Some students left, but several stayed. I could not help but notice that both the kids and adult students that stayed were (and still are) the better students.

Although Lee Tagney has been busy moving from Wrightwood, California to Huntington Beach, California the last two weeks, he has made an effort to get into the studio at least 3 of the 5 days / nights a week. Master Kurt Bellman still comes in on Thursday nights and teaches the Black Belt (and above) class.

So, I am happy to report that it looks like Sifu Master Al Rubin's legacy and school will continue under a new owner / instructor from his student's lineage. Lee Tagney is almost at the point of breaking even money wise; and the students that he does have, seem very dedicated to learning Kung-Fu San Soo.

Master Justin Painter
Riverside, California
Master Justin Painter
Kurt Bellman's Riverside San Soo Studio
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Sad news, indeed!

Postby San Soo Sifu » Fri May 14, 2010 4:47 pm

Justin Painter wrote:Well, I am sad to tell everybody that the Riverside Kung-Fu San Soo Studio, once owned by the late Master Al Rubin, then owned by his widow Master Ora Rubin, then owned by Master Kurt Bellman, and most recently owned by Master Lee Tagney; has closed forever. The numbers just were not adding up to cover expenses; and Master Lee Tagney, who took over the studio from Master Kurt Bellman last August 2009, just could not afford to make up the difference in monthly costs, to keep the doors open. The studio had a long history in the Kung-Fu San Soo world. Advanced Master Al Rubin opened up his first school in August 1972 in Riverside, California at a different location (in the Hardman Center; near Sears, on Arlington Avenue). After several years, Sifu Master Al Rubin needed a bigger space, and he moved (1978) to a second location at: 3812 (M) Pierce Street, Riverside, California 92503 (in the Pierce Plaza Liquor & Delicatessen). On March 31, 1986 Master Al Rubin had to move into even a bigger spot, the most recent studio that many of you have been to, located at: 3832 (A) Pierce Street, Riverside, California 92503 (in the Pierce Industrial Park); to attend Ron Gatewood's seminars, and to attend our black belt promotions & parties. I spent the last 23 years of my life going there, several times a week; and I feel pretty sad that those trips are now over, forever.

Master Justin Painter
Riverside Kung-Fu San Soo Studio
Riverside, California
Hit First...Hit Hard...Hit Often...and Finish Him Off!
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One more chapter closes in the art of Kung-Fu San Soo.

Postby San Soo Sifu » Wed May 19, 2010 2:53 pm

Tim Francis wrote:Dear San Soo Brotherhood...

I, too, have a heavy heart; and many fond memories of one of Kung-Fu San Soo's greatest instructors... Advanced Master Alan L. Rubin. He opened in August 1972 in the Hardman shopping center in Riverside, California. I became his 22nd student on September 18, 1972; a day I will forever recall.

I stayed with Sifu Master Alan Rubin through my Master's Degree; and I am sorry for those who never had the pleasure to meet, or better yet, train from him. Master Al Rubin was a consummate professional, and an absolute GENIUS at dissecting, conveying principles, and teaching this lovely art from the Chin family.

At his funeral, I approached Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo and thanked him for coming. Verbatim; Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo said, "What else could I do, he was one of my best boys."

Thank you Grand Master Jimmy H. Woo for that; truer words were never spoken. One more chapter closes in the art of Kung-Fu San Soo. We love and miss you Sifu Al Rubin!
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Postby San Soo Sifu » Thu May 20, 2010 9:42 pm

Ken Winegarner wrote:I, too, am a little sad, and somewhat surprised that the school closed so suddenly, to us that is; and I am still a little confused as to why there was not at least a little pre-advanced notice... maybe something could have been done to save the school.

I am not sure what number I was with Al Rubin, though I do know I was one of his first 10 students, joining Al Rubin in August of 1972. I was introduced by Tom Shotwell, a neighbor of mine, who was trying to date my sister, seeing that he thought he could get to her through me. That failed, but it started me on a journey I am still on 38 years later. So... A great big bummer!
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