Passion Profile: Why Adriana DiDino quit her job to start her own kickboxing gym.

Interview with Adriana Di Dino.

She left the world of advertising to kick and punch her way as an entrepreneur. She’s a co-owner of CKO Kickboxing Park Slope and CKO Kickboxing Carrol Gardens. Watch our interview to find out more about her passionate career path. Or read the transcript of essentials below. Watch time 11 minutes.

How old are you?


How did you find kickboxing?

One of my current business partners, Kristine, invited me to a kickboxing class 10 years ago. I was in my 20’s and it was the first time I tried it.

What was the first time like?

I was intimidated. That’s why I can understand how first timers feel when they come into my studio. From that first class I took, I was hooked.

What was your job before you became a partner of CKO Kickboxing Studio Park Slope and Court Street?

I worked in pharmaceutical advertising. I was a liason between the client and creative team. I knew it was going to be a career of long hours; a rough work-life balance.
I wanted balance in my life. And, so, I left.

Why do you love being a business owner?

It’s flexible and I’m my own boss. I already put pressure on myself to work hard. I love that I can share my joy for kickboxing with others.

Vincent Grey Photography

Why a kickboxing studio and not some other type of fitness studio?

The feeling I get after kickboxing was like no other type of exercise. I REALLY enjoyed it. Not only do you get great results physically, it’s an amazing stress reliever.

What else do you do?

I do yoga once a week. It’s a great compliment to kickboxing.

What do you enjoy about teaching?

I like showing others what I’ve learned. I like to see people enjoying the process and feeling motivated. CKO Kickboxing is such a positive environment! I have also built so many relationships through teaching.

Vincent Grey Photography

Is this what you want to do for a long time?

Yes. It will never be boring. Every class is so different, every instructor is different, every student’s experience is different. Kickboxing is here to stay.

How do you expand your skill set?

I always take classes with our different instructors. I also do a lot of pad work, self practice.

Vincent Grey Photography

What’s your training schedule?

I do 5 days a week of kickboxing and 1 day of yoga.

How did you start the business? Find locations?

6–7 years ago I started by teaching at CKO Kickboxing in Carrol Gardens. 2.5 years ago, I became partners with the owners there and together we opened up our Park Slope location.

Where do your parents live?

I grew up in Brooklyn but they have moved to Staten Island.

Adriana with her mom.

What do they do for fitness?

My mom did Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda tapes at home since she was taking care of 3 kids. My dad owned an auto body shop and was exhausted when he got home. Now that they are retired they walk and bike together.

What do your friends think about your business?

Extremely supportive and some try my classes. Yes, they do find the classes challenging!

Vincent Grey Photography

Do you watch MMA?

I don’t watch sports, never been a huge fan. I rather participate in sports than watch.

How do you stay motivated? What do you do on down days?

I think we all go through down days. The motto I keep in mind, “where there’s a will there’s a way”. It took a long time for this to materialize because everything is a process. I understand it’s about patience.

Adriana with her dad.

Who taught you that lesson?

My parents were immigrants and came here with nothing. They were in their early 20’s and didn’t know anyone. Even the language was new! My dad opened up his own business with little and he kept pushing. They have had a huge influence on teaching me patience and hard work.

One of Adriana’s students, Judy Law, bought her the Left Fist Punch necklace as a little token of gratitude for what Adriana has done for her. The Fist Necklace and the Female Boxer Necklace are also inspired by this empowering sport.

Find Adriana on
Instagram: @Adri1105 @cko_carrollgardens @ckoparkslope
Twitter: @ckocarrollgrdns
Facebook: CarrollGardens
CKO Kickboxing website