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.
LA Boxing’s fight-centric gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, LA Boxing sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym’s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.
Now & Then Dance Studios’ dance instructors let students pick from 21 styles of dancing, including waltz, salsa, and merengue. They make sure to integrate private classes, group classes, and supervised dance parties in their lesson programs, which have produced successful dancers for 35 years. They dance atop dance floors to reduce impact on joints and pump music through digital sound systems.
Since 1973, each of Sport&Health's clubs has aimed for full fitness coverage with programs for every taste and family member. Guests can spark positive lifestyle changes with workouts and wellness services, or engage in a variety of sports. Each facility houses different athletic amenities for games and laps, from pristine swimming pools to squash and racquetball courts. The camaraderie of group classes such as Zumba and Les Mills BodyPump barbell routines complement scores of club equipment meant for exercising solo—or with the guidance of a certified personal trainer. The clubs also emphasize kid-friendly activities with arts and crafts, Kidz Klub childcare, and youth certification courses that teach teens the ins and outs of training. Depending on the location, spa treatments can knead tension from muscles and paint one's favorite kettlebell with a layer of Shellac.
Suldbayar “Sugi” Damdin, a judo instructor at Northern Virginia Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness, represented Mongolia when he competed in judo for the 2004 Olympics. His colleague, boxing and CrossFit instructor Derek Sierra, was once a Master Fitness Trainer for the US Army and has amassed more than two decades of boxing experience. Résumés like these are common at the martial-arts and self-defense oriented fitness studio, where every instructor is either a current or former competitive athlete. Whether they're teaching muay thai kickboxing, boxing, or mixed martial arts, the veteran instructors ensure that their charges’ self-confidence rises along with their stamina, flexibility, and frequency of dreams about punching bags.
At Potomac Kempo, professional instructors focus on fitness and exercise while teaching self-defense. They help their students build strength, balance, speed, endurance, and coordination, as a way to liven up repetitive fitness routines or add to non-existent ones. Perhaps more importantly, they incorporate the key elements of martial arts—allowing each of their students to reduce stress, increase energy, improve focus, and gain self-discipline.