Master Kirt Galiano is the co-founder and Chief Instructor of the United Martial Arts Academy (UMAA) Haddonfield and is also the owner/operator of the Kickin’ Flips Preschool Fitness Program. He has proudly served the community in martial arts and fitness for over 28 years, teaching and inspiring over 20,000 kids and adults.
Kirt is a 4th degree Black Belt in Tang-Soo-Do under the direction of Grand Master Don Drumm (president of The Karate Institute of America) and Master Drew Hayes (6th degree Black Belt in Tang-So-Do and a 5th degree Black Belt in Japanese Jujitsu). Kirt is also a 1st degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do from the Kukiwon (World Tae Kwon Do Federation).
During his martial arts journey, Kirt has competed and won many local and state tournaments in NJ and PA in the USTU (United State Tae Kwon Do Union) Flyweight and Full Contact sparring divisions, winning 3 gold medals in 1993, 1994 and 1996 in the Pennsylvania State Championships.
In addition to his passion for martial arts, Kirt has a love for fitness competitions. He has trained and competed in regional races including the Ironman 70.3 Timberman, Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City, Ironman 70.3 Racine, AC 70.3 Challenge, Philadelphia Marathon, Pittsburgh Half Marathon…just to name a few.
Shortly after giving Community College a try I quickly realized that the classroom environment was NOT for me and decided I wanted to shoot things and jump out of airplanes, so I enlisted in the Army Airborne Infantry. I traveled to foreign countries, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was recognized for my achievements and actions while in the Service. I did not like having to fill out paperwork to use the bathroom, nor did I think someone should tell me what to do because they have been there longer than me. It was these and a slew of other reasons that I did not reenlist.
Upon exiting the Army I maintained a soldier’s mindset, but only within my own mind. During my transition from active duty military to being a civilian, and bouncing around the VA system, I then succumbed to excessive alcohol use, prescription drug abuse, and only THOUGHT I was the soldier that once fought wars, risked his life for brothers and sisters, and did whatever it took to get the job done. After marriage to my wonderful wife and after having 2 perfect children I continued to float through life making decisions for the wrong reasons, unaware that my everyday actions were grooming my children for their future lifestyles.
It wasn’t until December 2011 that my wife and mother in-law gifted me a 6 week trial to a CrossFit gym. This was another turning point in my life and for once it was a positive one. I developed a desire to not drink, not smoke, and change my habits to improve my performance as an athlete, for the sake of CrossFit, PR’s and fitness benchmarks. CrossFit acted as a catalyst for me to make positive changes for myself as an individual, a father and a husband. It empowered me to make the positive changes I needed to rediscover the soldier that I once knew, the soldier I knew I was, the soldier I am now.
Only 2 years later I realized that I absolutely love coaching! I enjoy having my positive attitude rub-off on people in the best of ways, I love that my expertise can impact an individual in more ways than just improving their fitness capacity. I genuinely enjoy watching each of my clients develop positive habits, and create changes that help them grow physically and mentally. It is very rewarding to successfully pilot someone through their individual athletic development process. Everyday I coach I face a new set of challenges and when those challenges are met, as a coach I am provided with a new set of rewards.
CrossFit was officially my 1st true healthy obsession. Yoga is my escape, and doubles as my active-recovery. I’m a Pisces so I loved to swim, surf, paddle, and anything related to the water but functional fitness resonated in a way nothing else had. As an individual that fell victim to addiction, thankfully I was able to prioritize fitness over prior vices until finally embracing sobriety in June of 2012. My love for fitness and all things Yoga was uncovered after two children and many years of scale stepping, although throughout high school I was consistently encouraged to join the ladies basketball team for a blatantly obvious resource, height, 6′ to be exact. And I did. And I was no good. At least not according to my standards. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy being the youngest female on varsity. I was intimidated, uncomfortable in my body, I felt out of place, so I did what most would, I quit.
CrossFit, I have not quit. Fitness and natural health has altered the course of my life. Ownership of my body has allowed for success in all areas of life. Challenges, community, awareness, trust, and strength have created a foundation for growth both internally and externally for myself and my entire family. We continue to discover our courage by exposing our deficiencies and allowing ourselves to move forward and progress. Fitness has been the catalyst for this incredible journey that I continue on and I am blessed to be in an environment to promote and encourage positive change for like-minded individuals.
I started CrossFit in 2015 while living in Venezuela after my husband convinced me to try it with him. I will be honest, I was not looking forward to attending. I was a gym rat. I LOVE lifting heavy weights and not so much cardio. I thought CrossFit was nothing but burpees and squats and wanted nothing to do with all that. My first class was Murph..WOW! That was the most brutal workout I ever had. The next day I couldn’t move, but I LOVED it and couldn’t wait to go back! I have been athletic my whole life, anywhere from basketball, track and volleyball. But CrossFit is on a whole different level. It has cardio that I actually enjoy doing, weightlifting, which is my passion. I quickly realized that CrossFit was my new, healthy addiction, so I started competing nationally in Venezuela. My first competition I placed 3rd in the scaled division. My last competition I did before I left Venezuela I placed 1st in RX. Hitting new PR’s is a huge thrill for me. I strive everyday to be better than I was the day before. Not only do I love improving myself, I also love helping others. I started coaching at my box in Venezuela whenever they needed to help. I knew that when I moved back to the U.S and have my baby I would get my CF-L1, and that’s what I did. The community that Crossfit brings together is unlike anything else I have been apart of. Celebrating everyone’s accomplishments/PR’s is so exciting. Encouraging them to push themselves a little bit more everyday and seeing their reaction when they exceed their expectations is such a great feeling. This is what I want to do in life, and I will continue to help others reach their goals as well as my own.