Business Roundup: Premier Martial Arts studio to open in Rancho Bernardo Town Center

A new martial arts studio that combines various disciplines in its curriculum is opening in the Rancho Bernardo Town Center.

Premier Martial Arts is enrolling its founding students now and plans to hold its Rancho Bernardo studio’s grand opening celebration in late June, according to owner Morris Lifschutz. Until it opens, classes are being taught at the Rancho Bernardo-Glassman Recreation Center.

Students are studying a mix of karate, tae kwon do, kickboxing and krav maga.

The blended curriculum allows students to learn a variety of skills. Lifschutz described karate and tae kwon do as similar and more “artistic.” He said krav maga is based on self-defense, hand-to-hand combat taught to the Israeli army and focuses on “practical, modern self-defense.” Meanwhile, kickboxing provides a physical workout.

“Martial arts helped strengthen my confidence so I could do well in sports and have discipline in school,” said Lifschutz, who started karate at age 6 and earned his black belt at age 12.

Since Lifschutz, 36, gave up karate as a teen, opting to be on his high school’s football and wrestling teams, he will not teach any classes. Instead, he will be among the studio’s students.

Ferrid Kheder teaches the classes, while free introductory private lessons are taught by Caleb Nielsen. Both have their black belt.

Lifschutz grew up in Southern California and moved with his family from Los Angeles to San Diego three years ago. For 15 years he worked in the corporate field as a manager with companies such as Target and Apple and he opened an Amazon distribution center.

“I’ve always wanted to own a small business, franchising resonated with me and I wanted to do this due to my martial arts experience,” he said.

Premier Martial Arts curriculum is what he was looking for as an activity for his three children, Lifschutz said.

“It focuses on character development and instilling life lessons in children on how to become leaders,” he said. “It’s very impactful. … This curriculum provides great lessons on character development like focus, discipline and respect. It is also helpful to learn martial arts to defend oneself, get in shape and have fun.”

Martial arts can especially be appealing to youths not interested in other types of sports, he added.

Several age-based beginner level classes are available — ages 3-5, 5-7, 8-12, a teen class for ages 13-18 and an adults-only class. In the future higher-level classes will be offered, Lifschutz said.

The Rancho Bernardo studio will be the first location in San Diego for Premier Martial Arts, which has studios throughout the United States, but that will not be the situation for long, according to Lifschutz.

He has plans to open three more studios in coming months — in Encinitas, Carmel Valley (where he lives) and Escondido. Studios with other owners are also in development, which will bring 12 Premier Martial Arts studios to San Diego County, he said.

With students now at the beginner level, he said competitions will just be within the studio for the immediate future.

“My vision is to have thousands of students under the brand and bringing a regional tournament to San Diego or Southern California,” Lifschutz said.

The studio will also serve as the venue for birthday parties, where party guests get to participate in martial arts activities and the birthday celebrant receives an honorary black belt and gets to cut the birthday cake with a sword, he said.

Premier Martial Arts is at 11964 Bernardo Plaza Drive in the Rancho Bernardo Town Center. For details on how to take a free introductory private lesson, sign up at, call 619-764-6156 or email

We’re on the lookout for news about businesses in Poway and Rancho Bernardo. Send your tips about new businesses, ownership changes, special offers or even business closings to Editor Susan Gill Vardon at

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