Health Blog

Beyond the Office: Zoila Jackson, Karate Mogul

Once her work day is done, healthcare professional, Zoila Jackson, continues to support her community's health by teaching martial arts alongside her business partner, Brian. Zoila and Brian give their insight into the mental and physical benefits of running their own martial arts studio.

Beyond the Office: Zoila Jackson

Our team members here at Community Care Physicians dedicate their lives to providing health services and education, not only to our patients, but to our community as well! Our patients don’t often have the opportunity to get to know our staff members beyond their interactions at the office. As part of our appreciation for the hard working individuals we have here at CCP, we’d like to highlight one of our employees who helps to improve the health of those around her.

Zoila Jackson is a medical secretary at our Capital Healthcare Associates practice. By day, Zoila is a medical secretary. By night, she becomes a karate mogul! She and her business partner, Brian Dewey, run their own Martial Arts academy called Dewey’s Martial Arts. As a healthcare professional, Zoila appreciates the health benefits of partaking in martial arts, many of which directly relate to physical and mental well-being. Zoila and Brian gave us their insights on why they chose to open a Martial Arts academy, in addition to the benefits they've experienced themselves and have seen in others.


Q:  What is Martial Arts?

Brian: "Martial" means military. It's essentially where military and art come together in its purest form.  Originating in East Asia dating as far back as the 1500s, the art encompasses defense blocks, kicks, strikes, and really every aspect of physical and self-defense. Kung-Fu, Jiu-Jitsu, and Karate all fall under the umbrella of Martial Arts as well. Our East Greenbush school focuses explicitly on Karate, while the Delmar location encompasses Kung-Fu, Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, and much more.


Q: When did you get involved with Martial Arts?

Brian: I started when I was 14, I was rather small and an easy target for bullies. I had older brothers that motivated me to do Martial Arts, so I sought out a school and began training. I received my 1st Degree Black Belt in 1984 and opened my first school in 1986 at a Delhi college campus. I then opened the Delmar location in 1990, and the East Greenbush academy back in March of this year. Currently, I hold a 7th degree Black Belt and continue to love training and teaching this art to others!

Zoila: My son was struggling with ADHD, so my goal was to find an outlet for him. I heard Karate is great for children with ADHD, so my partner and I spoke about it and decided to enroll him at (Brian’s) school. I have known Brian for about 3 years now. Initially, it started off as me renovating the Delmar school for him as a side project, where he then approached me to become a staff member. When he asked me to become a partner for the school, it came with one contingency: to train Karate! I have been training for about 9 months and teach all the kids classes. Currently, I am testing for my Green Belt!


Q: How has Karate influenced your own life?

Zoila: Being in this position forces me to be out of my comfort zone, build trust, and create new relationships. I was never a people person, (still not 100% there yet!), but Karate pushed me to put myself out there, and try new things – I am more of a people person now!

Brian: The big thing I struggled with before Martial Arts was learning how to respect others and read them, which I did not have before Karate. I was also able to get a sense of how to acknowledge a dangerous situation before it happens just through spatial and body language.


Q: How has Martial Arts affected your interaction with patients?

Zoila: The respect! Karate has influenced how I deal with difficult patients by maintaining a strong level of patience, understanding, and self-control. It has also boosted my self-confidence by showing I can do anything with practice!


Q: Can you describe the benefits a child might see from partaking in Martial Arts?

Zoila:  We have a smaller class dedicated to children called “Tiny Tigers." There, we focus on drills and going over instructions as a tool of reinforcement and discipline. It can also foster confidence. My 8-year-old daughter used to be very shy, but since taking Karate is much more vocal. Now she wants to get in front of the class and teach!

Brian: By teaching the kids to follow directions, it leads to learning discipline. Kids come from all different walks of life, and Martial Arts can be very therapeutic, especially if they come from difficult backgrounds. Through Karate, we notice kids and adults come out of their shell and make a family here with new friends.


Q: Do you teach children about anti-bullying?

Brian: Absolutely, we talk about how to deal with bullies, and preach “common sense before self-defense." This means making sure you go to an adult or teacher first when bullying occurs, so it is properly documented. Karate also serves as an outlet for anger management, which kids can benefit from if they are having outside stressors such as bullying.

Zoila: Children are also taught self-control in heated situations. Martial Arts training reduces the level of aggressive behavior. We found that children were more likely to step in and help someone else who was being bulled more so than before they took part in training.


Q: Can anyone participate in martial arts?

Zoila: Yes! We want everyone from all walks of life to participate, we have students ranging from 3 years to as mature as 78 years old! If you have health issues, we will work with you (I myself have a bad knee). So we cater to everyone’s individual needs.

Brian: We also encourage those with special needs to join. At our Delmar location, we have a class called “Little Samurai’s” which is exclusively for children who have special needs. A lot of children with special needs have very little community events that they get to participate in, which is why we like to give them the option to pursue Martial Arts training.


Q: What exercises do you recommend to de-stress and wind down?

Brian: In Karate, we teach breathing exercises, which is tremendously beneficial in stressful situations. Breathing is the first to go in tense moments. So when you are fatigued or upset, deep meditative breathing will relax and calm you into focus. In addition, cardio exercises and stretching techniques help relax the body as well. We make sure to do this in every class. 


Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of running your business?

Zoila: For me, it’s something very small, but it’s the two boys that ask me to teach them. They request me, and it lets me know that I am doing something right and am making a difference in their lives.

Brian: It’s certainly not the money, it’s more about watching a person blossom, grow, and do things they never thought they could do and having a sense of accomplishment knowing you were part of their development. 

Zoila is a part of our Capital Healthcare Associates practice located at 101 Jordan Road, Suite 100 in Troy, New York. You can find more information about this office here


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