Katalin Ogren, Owner of West Loop POW! Gym Celebrates 17 Years in Business
I love owning a martial arts and sports performance gym. My life has been enhanced in so many ways because of POW! and the people that have trained there over the years. One of my primary goals when I opened POW! in 2001, was to share the best of the martial arts and fitness with everyone. I also wanted to make it easy for women to train and accommodate anyone, at any age.
POW! is celebrating 17 years in business. Since opening we have offered over 40,000 classes and I have taught approximately 12,500 of them! Over this time, I believe that I have contributed to making martial arts more accessible for women. When POW! opened, we were the first MMA training school in Chicago and the first female owned boxing gym in Illinois. POW! went on to be the first in so many other categories of fitness and training. This effort was not driven by having to be the first, but rather being adaptable and relevant. I followed my passion and how I wanted to other to experience fitness and martial arts.
I want to make the experience of training in the martial arts much more positive than what I experienced. I believe I am a stronger person because I developed coping skills and found motivation that addressed the opposition I faced in the martial arts and boxing; I would not want others to deal with those same prejudices.
There is a strong movement today focused on the strength that women possess. “The force is female” is one of Nike’s new slogans. For those who know me, Wonder Woman was a huge influence in my life as a young girl. But the truth is, I had two real life wonder women that helped taught we resilience. POW! is open after 17 years and growing because: my mom was super cool and I have become great at rolling the punches.
The martial arts are filled with proverbs and poetry that sum of the values of being a student of combat. I often forget that I began martial arts at 9 years old; therefore more of me is martial in nature, than not. After 30+ years of thinking about martial arts, I often need reminding that many of my points of views are engrained in several of the critical lessons that are intrinsic to the martial arts. Despite being an external martial arts practitioner my entire life, my longevity is grounded is the gentler and calmer teachings of the martial ways. My sustainability is powered by patience, inner peace with what I do, the growth of others, the mental endurance of training & teaching and the legacy that my business is inclusive and spreads positivity
POW! in the West Loop of Chicago, has been offering modern martial arts classes, fitness and performance since 2001. POW! has always given everyone an opportunity to learn modern martial arts. Our program is intended to meet the goals and needs of others, not my personal goals. As life is ever changing, this path can change as well. You may begin training for one reason and find a calling in another. We no longer offer traditional martial arts classes (i.e. kung fu or karate), so the lessons of Lao Tzu, Bruce Lee, Bohdi Sanders and Miyamoto Musashi may not be as obvious. But, POW’s culture covets the greater purpose of martial arts:
growth, discipline, betterment, enhancement, reciprocity,
passion, focus, control, respect and understanding.
Although these are attributes that seem to grossly center on yourself, they are intended to also benefit those around you.