Driven by a desire to share the life-changing potential of martial arts, Dean Konley founded American Dojo in 1994. But his journey to that point wasn’t easy. As a child, Konley struggled with dyslexia, a condition that followed him into adolescence. Weighed down by bullying and constant frustration, he resorted to destructive behavior. Then, Konley found martial arts. Practicing martial arts gave Konley an outlet, and it quickly became a source of the success, discipline, and self-confidence he’d lacked in other areas of life. Konley earned his first black belt in 1986 and hasn’t quit progressing since.
Today, alongside his wife, Virginia, and a staff of highly trained instructors, Konley heads two American Dojo locations. Both of Konley’s facilities are family-oriented, and both offer classes for students as young as 4. Beyond empowering its members through goal-oriented lessons and programs, American Dojo opens its doors for birthday parties, too, allowing youngsters to burn off energy in a more positive manner than teaching the dog how to count cards at the casino.
As Milwaukee's premier Martial Arts Academy, we have been dedicated to forming strong, confident, and successful Black Belts leaders for over 30 years. We offer an exciting, high energy, and positive environment for you and your child to learn the martial arts.
The Little Gym of Gurnee, a branch of the nationwide network of Little Gyms, fosters educational wonderment, physical development, and self-confidence in children aged four months to 12 years old through engaging, interactive classes. Trained instructors lead the classes and impart motor skills, language development, and leadership skills through karate and dance classes, as well as brain boost activities—all with the goal of encouraging age-appropriate development in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.
Spawned by gung mao kung fu, a form of martial arts developed in 19th-century Okinawa, Gangi kung fu arose in 1985 thanks to Master Soshihan Joe Gangi. He held a black belt in gung mao kung fu, goju karate, jujitsu, and many other forms of martial arts. So he combined ancient and modern components of MMA to create something new: Gangi kung fu. The method married yoga-inspired conditioning moves and meditation with sparring. At Gangi Martial Arts & Fitness, Master Gangi and his assistant teachers continue to promote the unique practice through their martial-arts classes.
On the blue and springy expanse of AKF Martial Arts Academy's floor, uniformed students kick, jab, and whirl between defensive movements. Stripes of color bedeck their waists, showcasing what level they've reached and the score of their focus and determination.
It may surprise some parents, then, to hear what Master Cantin has to say about his studio. Unlike curricula at many other schools, he says, programs at AKF do not focus on heavy combat, tournament training, Eastern philosophy, or how to rope cattle by twirling a black belt. What his programs do achieve is something even more important and nuanced: building character and athletic prowess. Master Cantin and his fellow instructors count confidence, discipline, and listening among the skills they strive to instill, along with physical agility and stamina. In this way, the AKF team expands students' sense of self, and equips them with tools they can apply to all manner of challenges throughout life. And because many levels can train at once, whole families often enroll together, with parents and kids learning alongside one another.
The Futen Dojo is a traditional center for the study of Kobudo; the ancient martial arts of Japan. Under the direction of Michael Coleman (Kyoshi), students learn effective self-defense techniques and experience the multi-layered benefits of classical martial art training.