Body & Brain aims to help guests tap into their reserves of energy through holistic yoga routines developed by South Korean trainer Ilchi Lee. Based on the philosophies of an ancient Korean practice, Body & Brain’s classes incorporate fluid stretching, breathing exercises, and meditation to invigorate the body by unblocking the movement of chi energy. The committed instructors also introduce students to DahnMuDo, a noncombative martial art, and full-body vibration, which releases stagnant energy.
It's 7 p.m. on a Monday, and the Fitness KICKS studio is a flurry of sweaty, motivated students and swaying punching bags. This is the scene of a cardio-kickboxing class, where certified trainers lead students through high-intensity kickboxing drills and training exercises on the 27 heavyweight bags. Come Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, the atmosphere transforms when yoga instructors take over and lead yogis through flowing poses designed to enhance relaxation. The energy-charged atmosphere soon returns, however, when coaches take over to conduct rigorous total-body conditioning sessions, kettlebell workouts, Kempo karate, and jiujitsu classes.
As students bustle about in group classes, other members churn out muscles with the studio's collection of weightlifting equipment, ellipticals, and bicycles. Some opt for personal-training sessions, during which top trainers help clients work out safely by guiding them through custom exercises and checking their gym sneakers for smuggled in cheeseburgers. Still other members sit down to chat with the trainers about nutrition, discussing diet tips and custom meal plans.
Mean 1's sculpted instructors whittle weakness away from bodies by employing an arsenal of mixed-martial-arts experience and challenging classes. Adept fighters help strengthen novice and expert grapplers alike in kickboxing classes, developing proper strike techniques and combinations while focusing on footwork, head movement, and soul-stealing finishing moves. Wrestlers, boxers, and muay thai practitioners can also find programs geared toward their chosen discipline and the equipment necessary to hone their skills. Those looking to get in shape can opt for the conditioning classes, which make use of the gym's ample exercise accessories, including kettlebells, resistance bands, punching bags, and conventional weights, all designed to exercise cardiovascular systems while building strength, endurance, and immunity in tickle-fights.
The team of instructors at Invictus Martial Arts draw their skills from varied martial-arts backgrounds. Coach Rick Mitchell, a purple belt in Brazilian jujitsu, once honed his self-defense abilities as the guard at a federal detention center. Assistant Muay Thai Coach Crystal Anderson regularly trains under Khru Chris Buchanan and has trained at Island Muay Thai, Koh Tao, Thailand. Whatever their backgrounds, they all believe that building students' confidence is just as important as building their self-defense skills. Their studio is a member of the Thai Boxing Association and an affiliate of Robson Moura Nova Uniao, which speaks to its two specialties: muay thai kickboxing and Brazilian jujitsu. In these classes, the coaches pass on fundamental martial-arts techniques ranging from lightning-fast strikes to extra-firm handshakes.
Chinese Shao-Lin Center has been training students in the ancient art of shaolin kung fu self-defense for more than 20 years. Their masters and black-belt instructors share their techniques for punching, kicking, and blocking attacks with students of all ages and skill levels. Students can also develop their animal styles—including tiger, eagle claw, and praying mantis—while cultivating their breathing techniques with classical Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung for a more holistic approach to martial arts.
In the '80s and '90s, Adilson "Bitta" Lima was one of a few jiu jitsu pioneers who took his fighting to the cage, fine-tuning and adapting his technique in hand-to-hand combat. Adilson went on to form Clube De Jiu Jitsu Pitbull as a haven for all age groups to experience and learn his aggressive hybrid form. Today, in Clube's orange and black studio, students can learn traditional Brazilian moves, or experimental mixes of wrestling and judo to assist in the event of a real altercation.