Locke's Karate Academy's skillful staff will train Groupon-holding block-breakers in one of two martial arts disciplines. The Korean discipline of Tang Soo Do, the close cousin and occasional doubles-tennis partner of Tae Kwon Do, focuses on aerobic kicks and cardiovascular fitness. Practitioners of the Okinawan Goju-Ryu style—which is traced back to the Fukien province of China but founded on the Japanese island of Okinawa—build muscle strength and practice powerful punches for close-in fights or recurring nightmares about battling fighting-nun puppets. Under the tutelage of Sensei Aaron Locke, who moonlights as an attorney, students will absorb a working knowledge of the etiquette, philosophy, and statute of limitations laws of the country their chosen style originated in, transforming their fitness regimen into a holistic educational experience.
At Title Boxing Club, professional boxers, kickboxers, and mixed martial artists may lead the classes, but their goal is fitness, not fighting. They push patrons to strengthen their bodies from head to toe during one-hour sessions, instructing them to pummel 100-pound bags with jabs, hooks, and roundhouse kicks. They encourage members to hit the bags as hard or soft as they like and to move at their own pace, so the classes accessible to all fitness levels. During one-on-one training sessions, trainers use custom routines of weightlifting, cardio, and sparring to show students how to float like a butterfly and sting like a venomous butterfly. They also develop custom diet plans and exercise routines to help clients meet their fitness goals.
A joint venture between a professional boxer and a team of successful kickboxing-equipment tycoons, Title Boxing Club maintains a network of dozens of studios spread across more than 20 states, winning over a devoted clientele with its invigorating and engaging boxing- and kickboxing-themed classes. Each workout uses the heart-healthy exercise of cardio training to satisfy people’s innate desire to punch and kick something other than a broken jukebox. Participants build lithe, strong muscle tissue by delivering powerful blows to punching bags, and build flexibility and agility by practicing roundhouse kicks and hooks. Students can build their core strength and endurance with medicine balls and burpees, enlist a qualified personal trainer to practice their newfound skills in the ring, or just torch calories during intense full-body Power Hour workouts.
Academy of Fighting Arts instructor and 5th-degree black-belt Clinton Murphy can shatter several objects with his bare hands, from coconuts to concrete blocks. It's a skill known as "breaking," and Murphy claims that it's just as mental as it is physical. This and other martial-arts skills have led to appearances on ESPN2, The Late Show with David Letterman, and the Discovery Channel. At Academy of Fighting Arts, he teaches his students how to hone their own mental focus and martial-arts techniques, emphasizing good form and discipline over brute strength—just as he does when he's preparing to break 14 slabs of concrete in a stack.
When teaching a class, Murphy's martial arts style of choice is American-Filipino Kun Tao. This mix of pressure-point strikes, grappling, and joint-lock throws is ideal for close-quarters fighting. Murphy covers these maneuvers as well as escrima, or stick-fighting, in his adult sessions, whereas kids' classes focus more on teamwork and basic drills. He also hosts four-week self-defense seminars for women, which demonstrate how to effectively escape and subdue an assailant.
After a stint on the Junior Olympics sprinting team and dip into the limelight on the UK television series Gladiator, Jonquil Baugh refocused her passion for physical prowess into helping other people achieve their desired level of fitness. She puts her extensive experience to use by providing individuals and small groups with personal training suitable for all fitness levels.
During 30- and 60-minute group classes, trainers lead workouts that incorporate functional, strength, and cardiovascular exercises. Students cycle through a range of routines, interspersing interval-style workouts that involve brief periods of intense exertion with longer periods of sustained, less-strenuous activity. In the studio, clients can focus on cardio with indoor cycling, or tone and strengthen with Pilates and yoga. See the class schedule.
At Kempo Fitness, Glen Bartlett and his staff help students of all ages build confidence and lean muscle through martial arts. The studio's flagship program, Kempo karate, draws from nearly 500 years of tradition and focuses on a graceful combination of circular and linear movements. Other classes merely use martial arts as a jumping-off point. Cardio kickboxing, for example, distills the discipline's rapid-fire punches and kicks into a workout that's even more challenging than fitting boxing gloves on your feet.