Kempo’s movement patterns may look beautiful—fluid, swooping kicks, graceful evasions, smooth takedowns—but underneath the beauty lies a tradition nearly 2,000 years old. Since 1968, the instructors at United Studios of Self Defense have armed students with these techniques, leading classes where participants of all ages and skill levels soak up fighting skill while galvanizing self-confidence.
But before they can share their tactics and Mortal Kombat cheat codes, the instructors themselves must be trained. Each instructor who cinches the black belt around their waist has graduated with honors from the Studio’s own rigorous training academy. The training doesn’t stop there; every week they meet with the founder himself, 10th-degree black belt Charles Mattera, who refines their strategies and instills them with advanced techniques.
Founded by Grand Master Jin Hwan Kim, we have been serving community for more than 10 years. We teach Korean traditional martial arts, Tae Kwon Do and Hap Ki Do. We do teach not only the skills, but also good attitudes towards other people. We have 2 schools in the U.S., and 2 in Korea.
Capoeira, a form of martial arts, has its roots in Brazil's slave trade: over almost 500 years of oppression, the slaves mingled with the natives, exchanged traditions, and developed capoeira, which treats fighting less like a pattern of techniques and more like a free-form game or conversation.
Participants create a circle known as a roda around two fighters. Observers outside the circle clap their hands and play instruments to one of four distinct rhythms while singing songs in Portuguese. Meanwhile, the duo in the center of the circle enacts a kind of physical dialogue by exchanging sweeping kicks, takedowns, and acrobatic moves. In addition to teaching self-defense, capoeira encourages courtesy and safety through a system of etiquette. Big on community and small on ego, it offers something for everyone and infuses participants with a sense of well-being and an appreciation of tradition.
It's this tradition that the three founders of Capoeira Brasil sought to preserve. Now founding member Mestre Boneco continues the quest to share capoeira's unique blend of music, culture, and martial arts. As the principal instructor at Capoeira Brasil in Los Angeles, Mestre shares the skills he has cultivated with his diverse and supportive training staff. In addition to teaching students, Capoeira Brasil also hosts workshops at universities, seminars, and festivals.
If you're teaching krav maga in America, there's a good chance that John Whitman has punched you. The fifth-degree black belt has played an integral role in spreading the self-defense system throughout the country, a fact that earned him a feature in Black Belt magazine for influencing modern martial arts. Today, he trains students and fellow instructors at his gym, Alliance Training Center, which doubles as the national headquarters for his organization, Krav Maga Alliance. There, he guides his pupils through the same instinct-based techniques that he has used to coach soldiers, law-enforcement officers, and celebrities, including Million Dollar Baby's Hilary Swank.
Krav maga's devastating maneuvers constitute the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces. However, John and his team educate students of all ages and fitness backgrounds, maintaining that the art's effectiveness relies on sound execution rather than strength, size, or an additional set of bodybuilder arms. The instructors also teach other classes for muscular and martial conditioning: CrossFit employs Olympic weightlifts, kettlebells, and gymnastics equipment to toughen physiques, and StrikeFit sessions pit fists against heavy bags and pads. Instructors also lead programs for children aged 6–12, which help cook discipline and confidence into their daily routines.
When Darren Levine received his first Krav Maga black belt in 1984, he wasn't the first man to have worn that particular piece of fabric. The belt originally belonged to the man presenting it to him: Imi Lichtenfeld, the creator of Krav Maga. Darren had had the good fortune of learning the self-defense technique from Imi himself, and eventually became one of Imi's most trusted practitioners, developing training programs for more than 5,000 law enforcement and military personnel throughout the U.S.
In 1998, just one year after his beloved mentor passed away, Darren founded Krav Maga Worldwide to meet growing demand from curious civilians. The hand-to-hand technique is focused on reacting to realistic attacks, and teachers use scenarios inspired by everything from military combat, to late-night walks alone, to heated matches of Whac-A-Mole. Darren and his team lead various programs tailored for law enforcement and military members, women, fitness buffs, and even children, and they also offer certification programs for those looking to become instructors.