Kia Kidz and the Power of Martial Arts

kidz kiaLana Smirnova and her husband, David Miranda believe in the power of martial arts to transform the lives of individuals, most especially children and their families. Kia Kidz, their studio in Palmetto Bay, brings the art of self-understanding and motivation to all their clients and focuses on children with special needs.

“Every child is an individual,” says Sensei (“teacher”) Lana.

In operation since 2007, Kia Kidz concentrates on two styles of martial arts, Kempo and Jiu-jitsu. Kempo builds speed and coordination and is defined as “fist law.” Ju-jitsu, the “gentle art” was first developed in 16th century Japan by samurai as a method to defeat an armed and armored opponent by using his energy against him. There are a variety of Jujitsu techniques.

The success of Kia Kidz comes from the combined talents and expertise of Sensei Lana and Sensei David. She is a native of Moscow, Russia and is an accountant as well as a 2nd Degree Black Belt in American Ju-jitsu. For five years, she has been working with children with special needs in Miami-Dade County. During a troubled time in her life and the life of her young son, Christian, she discovered that the practice of martial arts could heal and empower both of them. It also brought them closer together.

Sensei David was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami. He has been involved in martial arts for 33 years and has a Black Belt in Kempo and Jiu-jitsu. In 2006, Sensei David and Sensei Lana married and opened Kia Kidz in 2007. Their children, ranging in age from 18 to 5? years old are very involved in the studio: Julian Miranda, Christian Gutierrez, Alexis Miranda, and Timothy Smirnova- Miranda.

“All children need role models and children with special needs are no different,” said Sensei Lana.

At Kia Kidz children with special needs work closely with their instructors and family members to learn the techniques of martial arts. The children learn to focus and increase their coordination, strength, agility, motor skills, and self-esteem. Also known as the Martial Arts Black Lotus Academy, Kia Kidz utilizes a positively-based training model that succeeds by learning one step at a time and slowly moving toward the desired goal.

The Kia Kidz program is based in the ability of the child’s family to work together as a team. Parents are encouraged to take classes with their children. Because the number of students per group is small, children benefit from highly-individualized instruction. Participating in group sports help children learn how to work as a team, while gaining confidence in a specific skill.

Remaining engaged with the community is essential for Sensei Lana and Sensei David. Once a month they hold Park Days at the Palmetto Bay Park, and they offer demonstrations and presentations at local events and in Miami-Dade County schools, both public and private.

Kia Kidz is located at 14414 South Dixie Highway in Palmetto Bay. For more information call 305-794-8529 or visit them on their website at

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