The success of every business is dependent largely upon the hard work and sacrifice of an individual. At PUNCH Fitness Center, the cornerstone of our foundation is a man named Adelino DaCosta. Through a childhood of adversity, brought about by harsh Guinean environmental conditions, Adelino was raised to strive for perfection and saw kick boxing as his escape. The sacrifices and long hours of practice paid off in 2002 when he won the NYC middleweight thai boxing championships. Throughout his quest for excellence, Adelino never lost sight of the lessons afforded him during the time he taught children the boxing skills he so carefully perfected; namely, the belief that kick boxing could benefit anyone, regardless of age, sex or socioeconomic status.
Motivated by the knowledge that two of his former students had become international champions in their own right, Adelino turned his drive back to teaching. The confluence of Adelino’s meticulous attention to details and his ability to evaluate clients’ specific need and desires, readily translated into tailored solutions that garnered a loyal following. With the explosive growth in client base, and the necessary experience acquired, Adelino decided to open his own private kick boxing studio.
Adelino Da Costa, born on March 2, 1977 in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau, has become a popular name among the finest of the Upper East Side. Raised on a small island pronounced "Jeta", off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, he was raised in a humble community which shared land cultivation, domestic animal care and saving rice plantations from birds. It was the traditions on this small, yet majestic islet that first introduced Da Costa to the art and honor behind a fighter. Wrestling was the sport of men. A truly successful fighter, regardless of age, was able to conquer his opponent physically and mentally. Presenting himself in the most reserved manner, the mind, body, and spirit worked in symphony. From an early age, the strength of community, the worth of responsibility, and above all the power of perseverance was embedded within him.
At the age of nine, Da Costa was sent to live with his aunt in the capital city of Bissau, where he would study for the next 6 years. At age 15, he was sent to meet family in Lisbon, Portugal where he would continue his education. Unlike the more peaceful life in Guinea-Bissau, his new home in "Marianas" presented a new form of survival - a consequence of prevailing number of underprivileged families living in precarious conditions.
The path of an individual in such an environment is usually determined early in their lives. It was during this period that Da Costa began studying the art of kickboxing, Thai Boxing, and Full Contact Sport. His personal path was carved as he increasingly dedicated himself to the sports. He voluntarily created a program of students ranging from young boys to adults. Stone blocks became heavy-weights; cement bags developed into punching bags; construction tape became hand wraps and beaches became track fields. As the number of students increased, so did the structure of teaching. Attending boys came from all around Portugal; ranging from conflicting groups to different races. Yet within the walls of their ring, they found themselves as individuals separate from social order. With a disciplined crossing of the arms, they became comrades who respected, honored, and advised each other as men.
With the little resources he had, Da Costa's school developed into a program which the government of Portugal recognized and monetarily supported. He continued to train himself 8-10 hours each day. Endurance soon earned him several fighting titles. His pride, however, was not invested in his own belts. He found triumph when his own students, two of which became national champions, and others built their lives traveling to Korea, Thailand, and countries beyond the borders that once threatened a dim future. After much development, Da Costa believed he learned all he could from Portugal, and contemplated his next phase. It was in his early twenties when he decided it was time to emigrate to the United States.
New York presented a reality filled with fast-paced individuals, foreign languages, foreign customs, endless days and sleepless nights. Da Costa's schedule began at 6a.m. when he would train to maintain his own skills and physique. At 8a.m. he rushed to a language learning center to familiarize himself with English. At 1p.m. he was found in a gym training for his professional fights. At 5p.m. he reported to the only restaurant that would hire him, where he would remain until 1a.m. This new routine demanded an incredible amount of mental and physical endurance. Determination, and constant evaluation of himself as a man became key. This proved true in 2002, when Da Costa qualified to compete in the Golden Gloves. Within the same year he won the middleweight Thai Boxing Championship. No longer foreign to the hustle of the city, New York was now witnessing the growth of a champion in more ways than one.
While fighting required much physical strength, it was the attributes of a warrior that were imbedded in him from his first days in Jeta that enabled him to survive. As a teacher, he emphasized the mental requirements to defeat any opponent; this included the opponent that had no shape or form, but which penetrated an individual and persuade them to surrender. Da Costa believed he must spread these teaching if he wished to truly gain victory.
He began instructing classes at the Jewish Community Center. He was later introduced to David Barton Gym, where he was given the opportunity to personally train. It was in this arena that Da Costa proved his ability to personally connect with his individual clients - discovering their desires, their mental and physical capabilities, and above all guiding them each discover their greater inner strength.
Punch Fitness Center
In 2007, after eight years of what he describes as "sweat, blood, and endurance", Adelino Da Costa conquered his first mountain with the opening of "PUNCH Fitness Center". This, however, was the first of many battles. Criticism and predictions of failure were high, simply because it was assumed that "wealthy people do not practice kickboxing / MMA". On the contrary, PUNCH has become one of the most beloved advantages of living on the Upper East Side.
Voted New York Magazine's "Best Kickboxing Gym of 2010," PUNCH is truly a center that unites the most successful fighters of today. The world's most successful men and women join with and adopt Da Costa's teachings from international, professional MMA fighters ranging from Africa, Asia, America, and Europe.
Above all the struggles and successes in his pursuit of growing in business, Da Costa has never abandoned the memories of his heritage. In 2008 he founded the 501(c)(3) charity, Punch Out Poverty, whose ultimate mission is to aid in the sustainable development and preservation of individual communities (or "TABANKA" as they are called) in Guinea-Bissau. Now a husband and a father of two wonderful boys, he lives his life with nothing short of honor, humility, and above all determination to succeed. His message to every individual seeking success: "Work damn hard today".