Tiger Rock Academy empowers their instructors and students to enrich their lives through a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. They teach Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing (fitness), personal safety and women’s self-defense classes.  Tiger Rock also provides wellness programs for businesses, both small and large, which impacts staff productivity, health care costs, reduced stress and reduced absenteeism.  Tiger Rock is about real experiences and providing clients with the confidence, focus, mindset and fitness level they need to be successful in life.  Michael Baluch is an instructor at Tiger Rock Academy.

How did you get started in the business? – Nearly 19 years ago my seven year old son expressed a desire to learn “karate”. After researching several schools, we chose Tiger Rock Academy because they operated on an entirely different level of standards compared to the other martial arts and fitness options.  Two months after he began, we started training together as a family.  This was a great thing for us to do together.  What started off as a hobby evolved into not only a way of life, but a career and a passion for helping others.

What has been your most important achievement professionally? – Helping students and instructors develop life skills based on our Tenets of TaeKwonDo: Honor, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Courage, Community, Strength, Humility, and Knowledge.  Teaching, and seeing others develop from your influence, becomes the reward and an achievement in and of itself.

Tell me a little about your family. – I am married to my fantastic wife, Sandy, and have four step-children here in Omaha.  My son Andrew resides in South Carolina. Go Gamecocks!

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – The decision to leave a nearly twenty year career in banking/finance to pursue a career in martial arts, and leaving the relationships from all those years to be a part of something I totally enjoyed.  This is one of the differences between working towards a “job” and working towards a “business”.  With the opportunities that have been given to me to grow both personally and professionally, developing a true “business” is the model that fits my life and my family’s goals.

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – Last year I achieved my 6th Degree Black Belt which is considered “Master” level within Tiger Rock Martial Arts.  I will be honored at Tiger Rock’s “World Championships” this year as part of achieving that goal and becoming one of only three people in Nebraska who are Master level or above within Tiger Rock.  Masters often keep achievements like this somewhat quiet in our daily lives because of the humility involved in our training, so when people do find out they are often interested to learn about what it really takes (which is quite a bit different than most movies!).

What are you the most proud of? – There is no doubt that would be my son Andrew. He is a 2009 graduate of the University of South Carolina, and works in management for BMW.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – Work hard, always do the right thing, and treat people right.

What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – The Joy of Living by Yongey Rinpoche.

What is your favorite movie? – Little Big Man

What is your favorite local restaurant? – Roja…I love great Mexican cuisine!

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – By email at mjbaluch@gmail.com or at Tiger Rock Academy, (402) 334-5425.