With a steady stream of votes and positive reviews from Patch readers all week long, has emerged as the favorite in .
Of the 743 total votes tallied between six local martial arts centers, Kapatid received 376—or 50 percent—of the votes.
"I am extremely grateful for the support of all the Kapatid fans, friends and families!" said Executive Director Patrick Consing in an email to Patch. "It tells me a lot about what my team and I are doing on a daily basis to make a difference in Kapatid members' lives."
He also thanked his "dynamic staff," including Program Director Rita Malvagna and Head Instructor Nick Saglibene "for their leadership in taking care of the students of Kapatid Martial Arts."
Consing and Kapatid Martial Arts have been a visible fixture in Pleasantville for 19 years and he believes the Tompkins Avenue school is truly a unique place.
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"I consider it a tribe. A tribe takes care of one another, each individual member," he explained. "One philosophy that is shared among the black belt ranks is the attitude that 'I'll do my best for the team, because the team is depending on me to be at my best at all times.'"
While the style taught at Kapatid is unique on its own—a combination of "Filipino martial arts, muay thai kickboxing, western boxing, judo, submission, grappling and weaponry"—Consing believes the school's priorities alone set it apart.
"Most schools will claim that through training you will receive focus, discipline, respect, confidence, etc.," Consing said. "I do quite the opposite. I teach respect, self-control, discipline, focus and integrity FIRST."
Personal development is emphasized for students at Kapatid and is taught along with martial arts and fitness at Kapatid. Dr. Robyn Silverman, a child development specialist and creator of the Powerful Words (PW) Character Education System, helps mentor Consing's students.
Kapatid teaches children as young as three-and-a-half (in the Lil' Warriors class that goes to age five); as well as Youth Champions at ages five to eight and Junior Champions at eight to 12.
The Black Belt Champions class is "my advanced program for students who are committed to achieve their very best," said Consing.
"My students learn how to respect and listen to those in authority who they trust, such as parents, teachers and coaches. They learn how to communicate with confidence, making them bully-proof and aware of the behaviors of others and most of all themselves," Consing said. "My kids learn how to overcome public speaking early rather than never like most adults. My kids learn what the meaning of personal responsibility is and what it mean to uphold their integrity."
Teenagers and adults can take similarly-organized classes at Kapatid Martial Arts, but also focus on leadership and protection qualities, he added. More recently, Consing launched a kickboxing program.
"My reward has been seeing my students grow into contributing individuals in this world, becoming black belts and seeing my graduates perform 100,000 Acts of Kindness throughout the years," said Consing, who encourages his students to be active in the community. "My life has been filled with exceptional moments here in this town. I know my presence and influence has helped save lives in this community.