Xtreme Martial Arts and Fitness Center’s martial arts trainers and coaches take on students aged 3–60 in their quest to spread the art of muay thai. Far from regarding the ancient martial art—which incorporates strikes from the fists, feet, elbows, and knees—as simply a means of fighting or very forcefully hailing a cab, staff also gear classes toward fitness with their X-Fit kickboxing programs. All lessons take place in their 5,000-square-foot facility, where students battle punching bags or spar against padded partners. An additional 2,000-square-foot personal-training studio provides space for one-on-one conditioning, which removes all competitive aspects from training, aside from the quest to wipe that smug smile off of your shadow’s face.
Owner Bethany Hooks’s dancing skills landed her in such Broadway shows as Grease, My Fair Lady, and Rent. Her impressive résumé also includes an assistant choreographer position for Holland America Cruise Line, which took her to Hawaii, Alaska, and Mexico. She now runs Just B... Dance & Fitness, where students as young as 2 years old can learn ballet, modern, tap, jazz, and hip-hop dance moves.
Larry Lam devoted his life to martial arts, a pursuit that yielded multiple black belts, 20 gold medals from the North America Sport Karate Association, and roles in movies such as The Last Samurai and 300. He founded Studio Kicks to share his high-energy interpretation of martial arts. He and his staff pass on the 5,000-year-old sport to students ages 5 and older, instilling them with weapon techniques from around the world, along with self-defense and safety awareness skills, flexibility, and fitness benefits.
When he’s not busy hanging out with the cast of Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon, Master Andrew Fanelli leads a slew of martial-arts programs at All-Pro Tae Kwon Do. He and his team of instructors lead classes in disciplines such as tae kwon do, muay thai, boxing, boot camp, kickboxing, and self-defense. Designed for students aged 3 and older, classes focus on fitness and wellness as well as self-defense, discipline, respect, and courage.
The self-defense system of krav maga is most closely associated with the Israeli Defense Forces, which has taught the efficient and easy-to-learn combat technique to its members since the 1940s. The system is also popular among civilians, who in the Bay Area can learn beginner through professional level defensive moves from instructors led by veteran Master Shlomi Katz, who was head of krav maga training for the counter terror school of the IDF. In addition to learning krav maga, students can opt for training in other martial arts—MMA for adults and karate for kids—as well as intense fitness classes that combine cross-training, MMA conditioning, weight training, TRX resistance, and more.
Academy of Self Defense gives students the skills and training they need to build a stronger body and learn real-world combat systems. Its krav-maga and mixed-martial-arts programs teach punishing strikes and defensive moves. Fighting-focused fitness classes tone the body through a mash-up of kickboxing, TRX, and kettlebells. Students also may pound away at the facility’s sea of 8-foot-tall heavy bags.