Weak bodies are whittled into lean, muscular fighting machines as instructors at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) teach the martial arts styles used for UFC competition, self-defense, and overall conditioning. Men, women, and kids train in the company of students such as professional fighter Cain Velasquez and instructor Daniel Cormier, a former Olympian. AKA splits its MMA, jujitsu, and muay thai kickboxing classes among four facilities, with group-training sessions and private professional sessions taking place in modern training studios with heavy bags, speed bags, and Olympic-grade mats. The Hillside location also features a professional-size ring for sparring or marriage-proposal practice, and the two-story AKA headquarters on Realm Avenue highlights an MMA cage, TRX suspension room, and cardio theater stocked with StairMasters and Jacobs Ladder machines.
The term martial arts generally refers to Eastern-born fighting techniques, but not at Three Sixty Training. In addition to jujitsu and MMA, the martial-arts studio offers kajukenbo, a martial art that originated in America. The practice weaves together five styles of combat into a single mode of self-defense learned largely through bag work, sparring, and grappling. At Three Sixty Training, instructors teach their unique brand of kajukenbo, incorporating a strong emphasis on boxing and jujitsu.
The punching bags at Milpitas Boxing and Fitness sometimes take the form a psychiatrist's couch. They absorb the emotions and reflect the triumphs of the professional fighters, children, and average gym-goers that treat them to regular pummelings. Milpitas welcomes guests of all backgrounds to wallop the equipment inside the sunny yellow walls of its gym, where instructors lead classes on boxing, kickboxing, Zumba, and general fitness. As they supervise spars inside their onsite ring or help kids to make waves with battling ropes, they encourage the simultaneous development of teamwork and personal growth. One-on-one sessions can also target more specific goals, such as learning how to throw in the towel with your non-dominant hand.
Months and months of training go into a mixed-martial-arts bout—just ask Unlimited MMA’s staff. Owner and head coach Rudi Ott is a former middleweight sanshou champion in the International Kickboxing Federation and International Shotokan Karate Federation. It’s no surprise, then, that Unlimited MMA's specialty is sanshou and Brazilian jujitsu, though it also offers muay thai, kickboxing, mixed-martial-arts, and CrossFit classes. All of the classes are intense and a majority of them combine self-defense and good old-fashioned sweating, which are usually only combined when someone’s mad at their oven. The workouts take place throughout the week at Fitness For 10 health club.