Within an expansive 18,000-square-foot gymnasium, leotard-clad children and adults spring from gymnast equipment, honing skills for tumbling and trapeze to dance and overall fitness. Nova programs transform all ages of bodies with lessons from current and ex-circus performers, and the staff opens their doors after school for kids to come and play while developing cognitive, motor, and social skills. The camps are a crash course in gymnastics—extremely useful when escaping bears in a wooded forest—and the gym hosts birthday parties by granting access to trampolines, bounce houses, and rock-climbing areas.
The children's after-school program at Kumite Martial Arts focuses on the most important body part when it comes to self-defense: the brain. Students are either dropped off at the gym or picked up from school by one of its vehicles. They then settle into supervised study time, during which they read and complete their homework. Lastly, instructors lead them through martial-arts training that builds confidence, mental focus, and leadership skills.
The adults don't have to do homework, but they do learn a variety of techniques from the gym's head trainer and competitive kickboxer, Scott Mukaddam. He and his team cover jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and kickboxing drills, thereby combining martial arts schooling with fitness workouts.
You never know when someone might try to sneak up on you, but you can learn how to protect yourself. Just ask the instructors at Kickboxing Broward, who have found a way to combine an intense cardio workout with practical self-defense training. The studio's kickboxing classes turn exercise into a form of multitasking; students tone their muscles while learning how to take down opponents or suspicious-looking piles of wood.
If people are always laughing at you in a dubbed voice and loudly declaring that your kung fu is weak, it may be time to stop watching movies and start working out. Today's deal will get you in fighting form: for $50, you get 10 dance, fitness, or martial-arts classes of your choice at Temple Arts Fitness in Davie (a $150 trial value or a $100 value for new gym members). This Groupon can be used for any class, though you'll have to call ahead to schedule OmGym, Pilates, or spinning. Parking is free.
Kids' karate is one of the specialties at American T.K.A. Universal Martial Arts, and it's no surprise: the gym goes so far as to pick students up after school so that they can take part in their hobby as soon as the bell rings. Though karate joins tae kwon do and MMA as three of their programs tailored specifically to children, the staff also guides adults through martial-arts training as well. After 15 years at the same location, American T.K.A.'s offerings also include muay thai, boxing for kids and adults, and aerobics-style kickboxing for grownups.
John Wai is a living bridge between the ancient and modern styles of kung fu. Born in Hong Kong and schooled in the orthodox traditions of martial arts, Wai was already a kung-fu master by the time he opened his first academy in 1997. He has managed to stay relevant by combining the ancient approach with a modern, practical outlook that draws in a wider range of students. His classes—which include fitness kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu as well as kung fu—focus on things such as exercise, stress-relief, and self-defense, and he also offers a summer camp where kids learn discipline, self-confidence, and how to open a care package with a single well-timed kick.