21 Aug 2014
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Strongmen Bend Steel, Crush Coconuts at Grand Opening

The Art & Strength studio in South Perry Hall celebrates strength as an art form.

Fitness training studio Art & Strength celebrated its grand opening Saturday on Wholesale Club Drive in South Perry Hall.

Owner Dan Cenidoza, 33, a professional strongman and personal trainer, hosted a variety of physical fitness demonstrations that ranged from Aikido to weight lifting to jumping rope to yoga. More than 200 people turned out to watch the demonstrations and explore the studio, including state Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and delegates John Cluster and Joe Boteler.

“The purpose of this event is not simply a business promotion,” said Cenidoza, whose studio will offer kettlebell classes, semi-private and personal training. “It is to promote the physical culture and active lifestyles.”

Klausmeier congratulated Cenidoza on opening such a unique and interesting business, and Cluster concurred, adding that the opening of the studio marks the beginning of improvement in the local economy.

“It kind of shows that we really are getting back on our feet a little bit,” Cluster said. “And like Kathy said, this is such an interesting place—I’d love to come down here and see what’s going on.”

He added, after watching Cenidoza’s father demonstrate Aikido take-downs, “I was a police office for Baltimore County and I ran a SWAT team, and I would have loved to have your dad train us.”

Cenidoza’s father, Jimmy Cenidoza, is a 63-year-old martial arts master, whose black belts date back to his teenage years. He gave two Aikido demonstrations in which he repeatedly took down Devin Rushing-Schurr, his “uke.” A “uke” is literally translated as the person “receiving the force,” or as Rushing-Schurr joked, “I’m the person taking the falls.”

Most of his falls were received with applause from the onlookers.

Despite being raised by a martial artist, Cenidoza the younger didn't get involved in an active lifestyle until 1998 when a sedentary desk job and weight gain made him decide to change his habits.

“I started working out, and I started reading about exercising,” Cenidoza said. “When I found myself reading scientific journals, I figured I might as well get college credit for it.”

Cenidoza enrolled in Towson University’s exercise science program in 2001 and graduated in 2005. He has been training people out of his home studio for the past five years, and the Art & Strength studio marks his first business venture.

Cenidoza, a former winner of the Maryland Strongest Man Contest, displays his power on a shelf. It’s a feat of strength and an art form called “scrolling,” in which he tightly coils steel rods by hand, paints and mounts them, and calls them “iron bonsai” (see photos). During the grand opening, several strongmen hobbyists experimented with bending steel beams into loops and scrolls, including John Mannino, a member of the Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongmen (see video).

Mark Schuler, the owner of Towson’s Back to the Basics Training studio, performed a jump-roping demonstration (see video) and Jennifer Popken-Leeds of Shine-Health provided a raw foods sampler (see photos) and a yoga demonstration.

Patty and Tyler Maizels, a mother and son weight-lifting team, demonstrated weightlifting and power lifting, while Stephanie Haddock and Walter Scott from a Cockeysville chiropractic and wellness center demonstrated massage and acupuncture.

Tim Berkemeier performed an iron palm demonstration, in which he crushed coconuts by hand, and Jim Bathurst, a certified strength and conditioning specialist in Washington, D.C., demonstrated hand balancing—seemingly impossible strength skills like one arm chin-ups and handstand pushups.

Visit Art & Strength’s website to see their schedule of classes, events, blogs and photos.

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