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.
David Camarillo grew up on mats, training and competing with his brother at their father’s judo club. After a knee injury limited his standup fighting ability, David discovered the ground game of Gracie jiu-jitsu and welded it with his father’s tutelage to create the Guerilla jiu-jitsu system. Guerilla jiu-jitsu fuses the fluid movements of Brazilian forms with Olympic judo and wrestling into a nonstriking, grappling art for all ages and skill levels. Students learn to leverage their bodies against opponents of varying size as they gain skills that can be used in a competitive, self-defense, or recreational setting. In addition to jiu-jitsu classes, the multidisciplinary center offers sessions in muay thai kickboxing, as well as women’s self-defense sessions and anti-bullying classes that emphasize nonstriking and conflict-resolution skills.
The talented instructors of Nach K Dekh call on years of dance-floor experience to impart the rhythmic gestures, fast footwork, and pulsating energy of Bollywood dance in classes for children, teens, and adults. Weekly classes begin with basic steps, then build on the skills learned in past sessions to help students eventually perform an entire Bollywood number, incorporating lively music and props to entertain the public at a theater or nearby Taj Mahal. Intimate sessions of no more than 12 students allow one-on-one coaching from instructors, helping dancers develop their skills quickly and correctly. For a more sweat-focused session, Nach K Dekh's BollyBurn class challenges participants to high-impact cardio workouts and muscle conditioning set to Bollywood music.
The co-founder of the Escuela de Tango, Marcelo Solis, has been an Argentine tango dancer and teacher for more than 25 years. Solis formed the Escuela de Tango dance school in 2012. The San Francisco location is one of a few branches of the school, which is headquartered in Buenos Aires—the so-called capital of tango. In San Francisco, a cadre of skilled instructors offers private lessons with one-on-one coaching as well as group classes suited to all skill levels and astrological signs. If you want to put your new moves into practice, the school frequently hosts and sponsors milongas—special dance celebrations with music, food, and drinks.
At KGS Academy, founder and former MLS player Kelly Gray propels kids toward professional soccer careers. Supported by a staff of professional athletes of an equally high caliber, Kelly primes youngsters for competition during private lessons and small-group or team training sessions. Soccer programs range from the Striker Academy, which helps aspiring strikers hone their shots, to seasonal camps, where kids pick up new skills or victory-dance routines from a lineup of coaches.
Vision Martial Arts’ two locations means double the floor space for students to punch and kick through. Students of all ages suit up in crisp, white uniforms to learn self-defense skills and better develop their confidence and discipline. Visions Martial Arts also offers Pilates classes, which moves at a slower pace than Martial Arts for a core-strengthening workout that leaves students feeling calm and in harmony.