Pat Tray likes to keep things simple: his vision is for a program of practical self-defense that encourages excellence and friendship. The owner and head instructor of Trident Academy of Mixed Martial Arts, Pat introduces students to a diverse study in fighting styles, from the fierce standup striking of muay thai to the leverage and technique of jujitsu. His students also delve into jeet kune do, the brainchild of legendary fighter Bruce Lee, as well as Filipino weapons fighting.
Positivity. Simple as it sounds, it's a central pillar of the philosophy behind Jason Yi's Tae Kwon Do College. At each of the school's five locations, the warm, supportive atmosphere starts with the instructors. Sure, they pass along years of martial arts wisdom, but they also strive to help students–younger ones, especially–realize that having fun doesn't necessarily mean sitting in front of a TV, or arguing the legitimacy of the moon landing with an imaginary friend. Through programs for kids, teens, and even entire families, the college's instructors lead students along a path that builds self-confidence and improves self-defense techniques. Instructors build on these same skills in the college's extracurricular offerings, which include after-school programs, birthday parties, and week-long summer camps.
Sticks and stones may break some bones, but not if they’re directed toward one of Capital MMA & Elite Fitness’s students. In a team-oriented environment, the studio’s instructors teach key mixed-martial-arts moves such as grappling, striking, and wrestling and supplement the training with classes in specific fighting styles, such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu and muay thai. Guests looking for a practical crash course in self-defense learn snippets from each technique in women’s self-defense classes, learning methods for staying aware of surroundings, fending off attackers, and freeing themselves from the grip of King Kongs.
The studio's CrossFit program, alternatively, boosts athleticism without combat, through a multi-faceted regimen of Olympic weightlifting, cardio exercise, and custom diets. Beyond group classes, the center offers private lessons and seminars, which allow its students—both children to adults—to learn with focused guidance.
A personal-training destination, BFIT Elite Fitness Studio understands that its studio is only one step on the path to improved health and wellness. Even the most strenuous workouts have minimal effects without proper food choices, which is why BFIT's instructors teach proper nutrition in addition to heart-pumping exercises. Their small-group and personal-training sessions, boot-camp workouts, and nutrition-counseling sessions all take place in a private studio that provides all the equipment for a good sweat without the potential discomfort of working out in a packed gym or an empty, 1/4-scale gym diorama.
The lead instructor at Premier Fight Center is Leo Dalla—but in his native Brazil, he’s known simply as Dalla. After starting training in jujitsu at age 13, Dalla earned his black belt, competed throughout the world, and, finally, moved to the U.S., where he’s dedicated his life to teaching jujitsu to the next generation of competitors. He and the other experienced staff at Premier Fight Center also offer classes in boxing, muay thai, and mixed martial arts for both adults and kids, who benefit from the emphasis on self-discipline and perseverance.
US Tae Kwon Do classes are taught by martial-arts experts and help students achieve peace of mind, personal confidence, better understanding of physical capabilities, self-defense techniques applicable to the real world, and the ability to knock a jar of pickles off the top shelf with a roundhouse kick. With class schedules modeled on the ancient art of busy lifestyles, those with busy lifestyles will be able to easily squeeze in a kicking-and-punching jam session that can breathe new life into a stale exercise regimen. Class offerings and times vary at each location—call ahead to begin your membership and schedule your first foray into one of the world's most practiced martial arts.
There's no question that Master Seum earned his title. Growing up in Thailand's Ubon province, he started training in muay thai at the tender age of 11. Martial arts became a way of life for him, leading him to pursue a professional fighting career in which he's won 70 out of 86 bouts without ever suffering a knockout loss. His impressive résumé and penchant for chocolate coins earned him the nickname Golden Boy and a ranking as the No. 5 contender in Northeast Thailand. He eventually came to the United States to teach, and after a few years of sharing his expertise at other gyms, he decided to start his own school: Seapeanong Thai Boxing.
Master Seum conducts beginner, intermediate, and fight team training with his co-founder, Emilio Gonzalez, a fighter known for his kicking power and old-school boxing skills. Will Merino, a three-stripe purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, helps students perfect their takedowns and ground-fighting skills, while cross-trainer Melanie Odria keeps bodies in fighting shape with a blend martial arts training and traditional exercise techniques.