Above all else, Sifu K.L. Brown understands two things: first, that a physical change can trigger a spiritual change; and second, that most martial-arts training caters more to men than to women. K.L. discovered that first truth as a boy in the Bronx, where his passion for the Boy Scouts, martial arts, and dance led him to several defining accomplishments. Namely, he was one of first African-Americans from his borough to earn the rank of an Eagle Scout and won both Silver Mittens and Golden Gloves titles before going on to a career as a professional boxing coach.This experience contributed to his second realization, that women needed a style of martial-arts training tailored for their fitness needs and style of learning.
Thus, K.L. designed Sweat Box, a form of martial-arts-based fitness training that dispenses with the rigidity of formal training studios in favor of a high-energy, celebratory atmosphere. As he leads participants through exercises, he also mixes in hip-hop moves and gymnastics. Leading each class, he adjusts exercises for all fitness levels, scaling difficulty where needed. In addition to helping students attain an improved physique, his fitness programs—which include classes, personal training, and competition training—encourage students to expand their perceptions of who they are and what they're capable of.
Still upholding the humanitarianism he learned with the Boy Scouts, K.L. also uses Sweat Box to promote community mindedness. Through his philanthropic venture Sweat Box, Inc. Rose Foundation, he donates proceeds from Sweat Box and Sweat Box Couture toward research into breast cancer, diabetes, and how to make donuts less delicious.
Fists fly amid a regulation sized boxing ring as the stern commands of an on looking coach keep the fighters in check. Though there may be gravel in his voice, each demand is intended to motivate students of all levels as they hone their boxing skills during small group boxing sessions at Peter Welch's Gym. And leading the pack of coaches who "… will motivate you, but never intimidate you," as told to the Boston Common by Melinda Sarkis—is the owner himself, Peter Welch, a Golden Gloves champion and fighting coach for UFC fighters Kenny Florian and Brock Lesnar. With decades of "old school" boxing experience tucked into his belt, Peter has developed a hands-on boxing program that teaches novice fighters using the same workout as professionals, while instilling confidence through effective conditioning and coaching.
His namesake gym recently moved to a new location that boasts a free weight area, flat screen TVs, and spacious locker rooms. The gym's week-long schedule is open to all including men and women of any age, and has even had visitors such as Anthony Bourdain.
On its website, Redline Fight Sports boasts that it is not a typical, low-intensity health club. Rather, it is a 5,000-square-foot facility designed to train fighters and fitness enthusiasts who want to train like fighters but do not want to interact with large slabs of meat. Its coaches—most fighters themselves—preach purposeful and practical training, where natural movements replace rote exercises to help boost strength, speed, flexibility, and stamina. For example, instead of sitting at a bicep-curl machine, a student in the popular Fighter-Fit class may slug an uppercut bag or whip into a teardrop knee bag. This choreography of punches and kicks takes place in the training area, where heavy bags and lightweight striking bags hang, some on a custom, 40-foot rail system that slides them to and fro. In a back cage room, grapplers can train over fully matted floors and walls, even practicing throws on a crash mat.
A regulation-sized sparring ring is available for dedicated boxing training, and free weights work to boost strength capacity. An air exchanger circulates fresh oxygen into the gym, which also rents towels for its fighters in training.
Before becoming owner and head trainer at Sityodtong Muay Thai Academy, Mark DellaGrotte spent a decade in Thailand, training under muay thai guru Kru Yodtong and competing in high-profile bouts. His experience transformed him into a formidable muay thai kickboxer, earning him spots on several TV shows including Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter and UFC Countdown. However, it also made him an expert ambassador for Thai-style boxing. Today, Mark and his team of instructors foster fight-ready fitness with classes in muay thai, Brazilian jujitsu, mixed martial arts, and boxing.
Since ancient times, Thai students, fighters, and artists have performed the wai kru ritual to honor the teachers who make their study possible. Composed of everyone from Navy boxers to championship jujitsu fighters, the staff of martial-arts instructors at Wai Kru gym knows the value of experience. Kru John, for instance, has traveled to Japan, Brazil, and Thailand to hone his muay thai kickboxing expertise, attending more than 20 training camps throughout Asia and earning a certification from the Thai government.
Training guests as diverse as beginning boxers and professional MMA fighters, both of Wai Kru's locations bolster training regimens with cardio machines, weights, and open mat space. Each gym also sports a boxing ring and a 24-foot octagon, so shaped to avoid having to vacuum peanut shells from a 90-degree corner.
The fighting Florian brothers lend their family name to Florian Martial Arts, where they apply expert skill and professional experience to their strength and conditioning programs. Classes include everything from Brazilian jujitsu to a junior samurai program for boys and girls aged 6?15. Beginners may be interested in the fundamentals program, which teaches the "Florian way," a method of simple but highly effective techniques.