DUMONT, N.J. – Toni Marie Geiger of Dumont knows something about being a champion.
The current female world master in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wants to share that knowledge through a sports enrichment program for youngsters.
So she's bringing her new business, Champ Fusion, to day care centers, after-school programs, churches and wherever else you can find children from 2½ to 12 years old.
“Children get so much joy and pleasure out of learning new experiences and fun concepts, and I feed off their excitement and energy,” said Geiger, 34, a former No. 1-ranked U.S. female judo athlete. “I also love seeing them progress.”
Champ Fusion fills a need, Geiger says: There’s been a dramatic drop-off in sports participation among children in recent years for a number of reasons, including parental fear of injury and the skyrocketing popularity of electronic games.
From 2008 to 2013, almost 3 million fewer American children participated in basketball, baseball, football, softball, soccer, and track and field than before, the Aspen Institute reports. Fewer than one in three youngsters ages six to 12 participated in any high-calorie-burning activity three times a week.
“In schools there’s a huge focus on academic literacy. There’s no focus on physical literacy,” Geiger said. “We hope to make a difference.”
When Geiger works out, she likes interval training. Among the many facilities she uses are the New York Sports Club in Ramsey and YESS Training Barbell & Fight Club in Dumont.
One of her inspirations is her father, Edwin Geiger, a 1994 world judo master.
Acquainting children with the basics plays into a key theme of Geiger’s career: going back to basics.
“My high-level coaches always brought things back to the fundamentals,” she said. “That was always challenging for me. I like going from zero to a thousand. I always want to work out so hard that I won’t be able to walk the next day. Even my current coach reminds me to progress.”
For more information, visit www.champfusion.com.
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