Owners: John Hertzel and Nick Weber
Founded in: July 2019
Based in: Morris Plains, New Jersey
Link to website: https://itsroninco.com/
Ronin Co., a mixed martial arts studio in Morris Plains, New Jersey, is fighting to stay afloat during the pandemic.
John Hertzel and Nick Weber started Ronin Co. in July 2019. Their studio is a melting pot of martial arts. It was open for less than nine months before being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We help people find their focus and energy, and help them get in shape with a fun workout,” Hertzel said. “We’re very consistent with students on setting a goal and keeping it going through every single class. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach.”
The studio specializes in teaching martial arts, Taekwondo, fitness kickboxing, MMA, yoga, and krav maga to children and young adults.
“It’s very commonly known in martial arts that a black belt is all about indomitable spirit. Nobody and nothing is going to stop you. We teach that each and every day and I think that this pandemic couldnt be a better example of our students learning that and doing what they love,” Hertzel said.
In March 2020, Hertzel and Weber had approximately 60 regular students. After the initial two-week government-mandated shutdown, they decided to pivot to online instruction.
Since closing their studio doors, about two-thirds of students continued with virtual martial arts — taught by instructors via Zoom.
“The world is changing, but we’re still here. It comes down to the students,” Weber said. “When we were told to close, we went straight to ‘What do we need to do to make this work?’”
Now, the co-owners say that they’re planning on upkeeping virtual classes.
“Everyone has a different precautionary opinion for different reasons. We have been telling our students since day one that we’ll keep up virtual classes even if one student wants to use them.”
Both Hertzel and Weber have fourth-degree black belt certification and have been martial arts instructors for many years.
“It didn’t matter what kind of day you had, you go to class with a goal, and then work to progress from that goal. I think martial arts is so great for that,” Hertzel said.
Now that their 3000-square foot facility is beginning to reopen, the co-owners say their focus is on sanitizing the space and making sure students are social-distancing and doing their workouts in masks.
To keep up with NJ Gov. Phil Murphy’s mandate, the studio can take up to 15 people per class.
Classes for non-members cost $25 per lesson. Children’s martial arts classes start enrolling students at 3 1/2 years of age.
Here’s how you can help support Ronin Co.:
-Try a free trial class
-Connect with @ItsRoninCo on social media
-Snag a ‘Ninja at Home’ T-shirt