To weather his career as a master sergeant and a decorated Special Forces combat veteran, Shihan Randy McElwee needed a solid grasp on combat maneuvers. Nowadays, the retired McElwee teaches the pragmatic self-defense skills that got him through battle at his martial-arts studio, American Black Belt Academy. The school specializes in the official hand-to-hand combat system of the US military: Gracie Brazilian jujitsu. The system’s standing and ground moves harness leverage to take on larger opponents as well as help participants neutralize surprise attacks. For a broader focus, students can opt for an integrated martial-arts fitness workout, which combines jujitsu with muay thai kickboxing and Japanese shotokan karate. Regardless of their specificity, all of the studio’s classes enhance focus, self-confidence, and courage when the laundry room’s light goes out.