As children, two brothers witnessed firsthand the violence that can destroy a home. As adults, the vowed that their daughters would never suffer the same fate. That’s why they founded Divas In Defense, a safe haven for girls and women to learn self-defense techniques. At their personal-safety classes and self-defense workshops, healthy self-esteem and mental strength develop naturally as women learn how to use their own bodies or those of any nearby mannequins to defend themselves. Trainers hone simple strikes and kicks at beginner classes, which evolve into ground techniques at intermediate classes and defense against armed attackers at advanced classes. Their Girls Can Fight Too! program welcomes students as young as 7 to learn how to stave off bullying, date violence, and interact appropriately online, among other skills.
Savannah ATA buffs bodies and bolsters confidence with holistic fighting and defense classes centered around the ancient art of tae kwon do. Classes ($50 value/two weeks) help increase focus and self-esteem through a variety of exhilarating formats including karate for kids (up to age 13) and martial arts for adults. An experienced, safety-minded, and mostly uninvisible staff of instructors guides fighters through each group class, promoting perseverance and confidence and teaching awareness skills, and the included uniform ($40 value) gives force wielders the appropriate garb for their newfound skill set and Jedi–themed tea parties.
At AKF Athens Martial Arts, students not only sharpen their ability to defend themselves, but also gain the mental toughness to grow as individuals and only fight when absolutely necessary. Under the direction of Grandmaster Tommy Lunsford and Master Lloyd Holden, head instructor Ken Blumreich teaches his proteges the techniques and discipline of kyuki-do, which is a mixture of taekwondo, hapkido, and judo. Students as young as 3, aka "little dragons," learn how to be polite and respectful before joining older students in the Kyuki-Do Basic program, which focuses on introductory stances, strikes, and conditioning. Those who graduate from the basic program move onto more difficult techniques in the Kyuki-Do Leadership program.
Self-defense classes for kids and adults are the focus for this martial arts academy, in both group and private settings. During HapKiDo classes—a derivative of classic karate—black-belt instructors Maurice Murphy and R.J. LoPresti lead children through combat techniques that are designed to boost confidence, improve focus, and avoid the high price of bodyguards. Adult training also incorporates meditation and philosophy. The staff offers up nutrition tips throughout class, and are available for one-on-one consultations.
The instructors at Premier Martial Arts of Atlanta must complete at least 40 hours of training each year. Those hours keep the instructors who teach Premier's youth and adult training programs from becoming rusty. That's a good thing, too, since they teach everything from kickboxing, which is more focused on burning calories, to krav maga and kali, which are entirely focused on teaching real-world self-defense tactics such as neutralizing a knife-wielding attacker or a laser-wielding Martian.
Karate encompasses much more than just the physical realm. The instructors at Kick Start Martial Arts understand this, and that's why they work to shape students not only physically but also mentally and spiritually. The tool they use is tang soo do, a Korean martial art that inspired modern tae kwon do. It incorporates kung fu, tai chi, and Japanese karate, which means that martial-arts classes for children and adults include hand and foot moves along with self-defense and physical conditioning.