By Gaige Davila
Enrique Saldaña is a month into instructing SPI BJJ & Fitness’ new gymnastics class, after starting on February 1.
Saldaña started gymnastics at eleven-years-old, in Brownsville, under Joe Vela, owner of KMJV Gymnastics in Port Isabel, which has since closed. At 16, Saldaña began instructing at Vela’s gymnastics academy in Brownsville, instructing in the latter’s Port Isabel academy as well after Vela moved to Port Isabel. Vela has since returned to Brownsville. This is Saldaña’s first run as head instructor of a gymnastics program. For now, he teaches afternoons Monday through Wednesday. Eventually, he’ll be incorporating private and weekend classes into his roster.
“It’s pretty interesting what the body can do and push it to the limit of what it can achieve,” Saldaña said. “As a coach, I see they have potential and push them to become better.”
Saldaña’s current students’ ages range from 4 to 12, with varying levels of skills. Currently, Saldaña is having his students do 15 minutes of stretching each class, to prevent injury and strengthen their muscles and joints. Then, he goes into general curriculum, teaching the students certain drills to prepare for back handsprings, back tucks, round offs and so on.
“We’re excited to be offering gymnastics again,” SPI BJJ & Fitness owner and instructor Joseph Cantu said. “Our community needs it and there are certainly plenty of youth who really enjoy it here.”
Saldaña’s classes are offered Monday to Wednesday, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call (956) 203-3690 for more information.