Und1sputed's experienced instructors boost metabolism, self-esteem, and self-defense skills during martial-arts-based and boxing fitness classes in more than 50 scheduled timeslots each week. During one-hour boxing classes, students learn basic skills and professional training methods such as jumping rope, reviewing Rock 'Em Sock 'Em–robots footage, and running medicine-ball drills while admiring the center's full-size regulation boxing ring. A mixed-martial-arts class combines boxing, kickboxing, and grappling techniques to get exercisers' feet flying and hearts pumping. Learn core tenets of self-defense during the Bar Room Brawl class, an intense one-hour workout that targets excess fat with kick-punch combinations, bag work, and toning moves for the abs and gluteals. Classes are followed by open-mat rolls, and patrons have access to a large selection of weights ranging up to 200 pounds, the same weight as 10,000 pro-wrestling VHS tapes.
The Chinese Shao-Lin Center's masters teach the ancient Chinese art of Shao-Lin kung fu, a mixture of self-defense and meditation that's considered essential for health and longevity. Inside a peaceful, welcoming space, students ages 12 and up of all fitness and skill levels are invited to enlist in various classes in the external arts and internal arts. Learn to defend yourself against aggressors, or send a message to threatening mannequins in one of various kung fu classes. Or find peace between muscle and mind in a tai chi session, which connects gentle, flowing movements with breathing exercises. The center's specialty classes, available two to three times each month, cover a range of topics designed to empower bodies, minds, and cinder blocks' rights activists and might focus on kicking techniques or meditation.
While many Americans may think they know Chuck Norris because of the way his on-screen persona has roundhouse kicked its way into our hearts, few have actually met the man. Fewer, in fact, have been bestowed a sixth-degree black belt from Master Norris in his chun-kuk-do martial-arts system. But the founder of Ultima Self-Defense and Fitness LLC, Charles Allen, has.
Mr. Allen takes seriously his role in building confidence and shaping role models throughout the community, which is why he handpicks each of his center’s instructors. These instructors cater to diverse fitness and self-defense expectations, including adults looking to cut a competitive edge into their lives with mixed martial arts, a form of training that schools students in the sparring, grappling, and takedown techniques popularized by the caged sport. For energetic, high-energy exercise, KravFit uses kettlebells to achieve total-body toning and conditioning. Kids' programs include krav-maga self-defense classes as well as birthday parties that challenge celebrants to cut their cake with only their forearm.
The rich history of kenpo karate stretches as far back as the second century AD, when the number two was invented and renowned surgeon Hua T’o devised defensive exercises based on animal poses. The Asian sport continued to evolve over the intervening years, and in the 20th century, Ed Parker imported kenpo to the states and became not only the senior grandmaster of American kenpo, but also the “father of American Kenpo.” Today, Ed Parker Jr. carries on his father’s legacy as a member of the Master Council that presides over American Institute of Kenpo, along with other kenpo greats such as ninth-degree black belt Sigung Stephen LaBounty. The team of experts offers a guiding presence at the institute—Ed drops in for yearly camps and senior black-belt testing—and ensures the internationally certified instructors teach kenpo karate with the utmost attention to the principles of the sport.
Though kenpo is derived from ancient techniques, it encompasses contemporary self-defense and fitness methods. In the first lesson, students power through all the basics—the five ranges of combat and how to move swiftly—and form a sturdy foundation for increased strength, coordination, and flexibility. The center offers a wide range of programs for all ages and ability levels so that new pupils can master kenpo quickly and ascend through the belt-oriented ranks toward black.
Professional fighters such as Eddie “Crazy Face” Arizmendi and Chad “Grave Digger” Griggs call Apex Mixed Martial Arts home, but owners Joey “Boom Boom” and Nicole Rivera treat each client like a champion. Inside the cages and on the grappling mats, instructors lead a variety of martial-arts programs such as striking, adult and kids' MMA, grappling, capoeira, and professional practice. Native Brazilian Melissa Morgensen leads energetic Brazilian samba classes, and Apex also hosts other special events such as kids' camps.
Tucson Racquet & Fitness Club's clinic will meet every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for five straight weeks (a $90 value). Lessons are taught by expert instructors and consist of intense hitting drills, strategy, footwork, girthy grunts, and supervised play. With a 4:1 student-instructor ratio, you'll always have watchful eyes to monitor your progress and make sure you're not sneaking in corked racquets. Regardless of one's swing swagger, all players are placed into compatible groups based on ability and the number of rings on their torso stump. By clinic's end, rookie racqueteers will transform into veteran volley maestros that propel slingshot swings with a Bruce Lee accuracy (Lee was actually a much better tennis player than he was a martial artist).
Chris Cariaso, head trainer at Rise Combat Sports, knows a lot about the MMA, boxing, jujitsu, and muay thai classes the gym offers. Cariaso is a fighter who has fought in every top promotion known to mixed martial arts, including Strikeforce, Elite XC, World Extreme Cagefighting, and the UFC, and he has been teaching since he was just 16 years old.