While serving oversees in the US military, Tracy Lee Thomas would often dream of opening his own martial-arts training studio. He had been training in martial arts since he was 13 years old, mastering the form and self-defense techniques of a variety of styles and eventually earning his seventh-degree black belt. He was able to realize this dream once he returned to American soil, where he opened up his own studio: Changing Lives Martial Arts.
Today, the official American Taekwondo Association master pulls from his years of expertise to lead karate, tae kwon do, and krav maga classes to students of all ages. Tracy and his team of expert instructors teach self-defense tactics and guide students through dynamic punches and kicks while emphasizing the importance of life skills such as self-discipline and focus. The instructors also take a load off moms and dads by hosting kids’ birthday parties, where martial arts–inspired games provide a fun alternative to messy piñatas and games of pin-the-tale-on-the-grownup. His dedication to his students and martial arts has also gained the attention of the Virginian-Pilot, which has awarded him the Best of Hampton Roads award seven times from 2005 to 2012.
Tidewater Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu's training imparts valuable self-defense skills that can aid students in real-world situations, but that's not all that students learn. The school also strives to provide an even broader range of physical and mental benefits for its pupils. The staff includes impassioned teachers with black belts in brazilian jiu-jistu as well as instructors with extensive knowledge of other fighting styles, such as muay thai, wrestling, and kung fu. Classes cater to individuals of all ages and fitness levels, covering the fundamental and the advanced techniques of these various forms of self-defense.
Although learning the submission holds of brazilian jiu-jistu, the elbow and knee strikes of muay thai, and the strategies of thumb wrestling bolsters students' confidence in general, martial-arts instruction can also help promote healthier lifestyles in general. Dedication and commitment to ongoing practice can help students lose weight, improve flexibility, and tone muscles while also instilling a greater appreciation for the values of self-discipline and self-control.
In establishing Onelife Fitness, its founders aimed to "inspire people of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels," with the mindset that we each have only one life, and hence one chance to treat our bodies well. Thus a fitness program was created that can both challenge athletes and serve as a non-intimidating introduction to those hoping to get fit or lose weight. Certified personal trainers are on hand, ready to help each individual learn the tools necessary to maximize their workouts. These pros also lead a huge range of classes?including yoga, Zumba, and Les Mills programs such as Bodypump?throughout the week, transforming fitness into a convivial activity in the process.
A seventh-degree black belt and a former Korean National Team coach, Master Kim knows just about everything there is to know about practicing, teaching, and training in tae kwon do. At his studio, World Champion Tae Kwon Do Chesapeake, Master Kim and his talented staff provide traditional Korean tae kwon do programs for students of all ages, starting with Little Tigers for 4- and 5-year-olds all the way up to Wise Tortoises for fitness-minded centenarians. Family classes bring the whole clan together, while adult lessons boost physical fitness and confidence in equal measure.
Kobukan Martial Arts’ trainers emphasize the mental benefits of the ancient fighting techniques as strongly as the physical ones. The controlled focus required in Tai Chi eases stress, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu offers the peace of mind that comes from learning self-defense techniques and sculpting muscles quickly. A full schedule also holds other MMA classes, such as kickboxing and karate.
TNT Bootcamp of Hampton Roads has built a supportive exercise setting for students of every age and body type, earning a Silver ranking for Best Gym/Fitness Facility in the Virginian-Pilot's Best of Hampton Roads 2011 list. Each 45-minute meet-up features modifiable techniques and a communal feel, as owner Debra Cotton strives to shed weight alongside the camp's other attendees. Music infuses kickboxing strikes and weight-lifts with energized pizzazz as step aerobics, resistance bands, and stability balls condition physiques.
Unlike in a similarly titled section of a high-school yearbook, patrons strive to have their names posted in the website’s Biggest Losers section, many shedding 5, 6, or 8 pounds per week. With nutrition guidance, weekly weigh-ins, and supplementary wellness resources, the boot-camp regimen embraces a holistic approach to physical health and proffers Zumba sessions for those interested in a rhythmic change of pace.