Nearly 300 years ago, the elders of China's Shaolin Temple convened to develop a new kind of martial arts. They dreamt of a style that would eventually overcome all the others, thanks to its combat efficacy and the fact that it would take a much shorter time to learn. They named this style Wing Chun, a Chinese phrase that translates to "forever springtime" and reflected their hope for a renaissance in Shaolin martial arts.
This renaissance never quite arrived, but traditional Wing Chun is still practiced today. This is largely thanks to the efforts of practitioners such as Grandmaster William Cheung and Sifu Tim Berkemeier, the latter of whom founded Traditional Wing Chun Baltimore. It's easy to see Wing Chun's appeal to modern sensibilities, as it emphasizes a scientific approach that draws on biomechanics and angular deflections. It's also ideal for students who don't have the muscles to send their opponents flying across the room, as it focuses on disabling rather than brute strength.
At KMAT Baltimore, fourth-degree tae kwon do expert Travis Jenkins teaches trainees of all ages to turn their fists and feet into formidable tools of self-defense and fitness experts slim and tone bodies with group workouts. Each tae kwon do course celebrates the proud legacy of the martial art⎯developed centuries ago during Korea's turbulent Three Kingdoms period as a method of training warriors to strengthen their bodies, instill a system of values and discipline, and spark fear in pinewood boards. During kids' classes, those as young as 4 build coordination, self-esteem and confidence through practicing the ancient art, whereas the adult classes focus on building muscle tone, agility, and speed.
In a story by Patch reporter Elizabeth Janney, owner David Sturman described Elkridge Athletic Club as "a friendly gym," stating that “no matter what your fitness level is or what your shape is, you feel comfortable here." The welcoming environment—together with high-energy classes and cutting-edge equipment—may be why voters named the health club as the best local gym in an Elkridge Patch poll.
Each initiation-fee-free, month-to-month membership includes access to the sauna and hot tub along with unlimited group classes. Guests dance to straightforward moves set to Latin beats in Zumba workouts, and combine cardio and mind-body techniques in Hour of Power classes. Members also receive a complimentary personal-training session to design a customized fitness plan or learn to make a black leather purse that looks just like a kettlebell.