It was early one Christmas morning when Mr. and Mrs. Powell presented their son Robert with his present— tae kwon do lessons. Robert took to the sport instantly, studying, practicing, and mastering its powerful kicks and swift punches throughout grade school and all the way up through college. Along the way, he put his skills to use competing in local and international tournaments.
Today, Robert draws upon his impressive history with tae kwon do and heads his own martial-arts studio, where he teaches adults and kids techniques and form. He intersperses tae kwon do lessons with movements from a variety of different martial-arts styles, including jujitsu, haganah, and pekiti tirsia. In addition to combat and self-defense instruction, Robert and his instructors strive to promote life skills such as perseverance, self-control, and integrity, while at the same time discouraging undesirable habits such as bullying or making fun of babies because they can’t fill out their own tax forms.
CrossFit McKinney's owner, Jeff Sawyer—a USA Nationals Olympic Weightlifting Championship placer and Machado black belt—first heard of the CrossFit workout while teaching Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 2005. Skeptical as to whether the regimen, which focuses on moving heavy loads over long distances quickly, was more than a passing fad, he decided to investigate for himself and witnessed first-hand the workout's effectiveness in teaching people how to perform Olympic lifts. Sawyer was finally sold and decided to incorporate CrossFit into his own gym with the help of one of his former students, Eleonora Zalo, a five-time Croatian weightlifting champion and former coach of UFC fighter Mirko ‘CroCop’ Filipovic, and CrossFit-certified instructor Josh Esparza. Together, they lead CrossFit classes, as well as non-contact muay thai kickboxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes for kids and adults. The facility also offers ice-hockey conditioning](http://gr.pn/H49Nz4) and onsite childcare so guests can exercise without needing to find a babysitter or pay the dog to watch the kids.:m]]
The Korean masters who run White Tiger Martial Arts strive to do more than just share the tae kwon do techniques that they've learned over decades of training. They impart their enthusiasm and sincerity for martial arts in every class so students may develop greater discipline, respect, and confidence while also becoming stronger physically and mentally. Belts of increasingly prestigious hues wind around waists as students practice proper martial arts technique and face off against partners in Olympic-style sparring lessons. Family and children's classes are divided by belt and age while adult classes are not divided.
Learning the martial arts does more than just teach people how to break a wooden board with their bare hands. At Sustaire's ATA Martial Arts, students also learn discipline, self-awareness, and focus. Most of the instructors on staff are world or state champions, and each of them have gone through an intensive training period prior to teaching martial arts classes. In these programs, students as young as four years old can begin lessons in which they learn physical defensive skills that can give them confidence in many situations. With skills in karate and taekwondo, both children and adults grow stronger and find an outlet for stress that doesn't involve knocking brick walls down with a sledgehammer.
Recently relocated to Plano, Cobra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial arts training academy that teaches adults and children the art of self-defense. Believing that everyone can benefit from the confidence-building aspects of jiu-jitsu—namely, the idea that a weaker person can bring down a larger opponent using proper technique—the academy trains children and adults of all skill levels in classes that teach respect and discipline. The coaching staff is led by brothers Eddie and Eder Ricardo, Cobra’s Brazlian Jiu-Jitsu professors, who have both trained in martial arts since they were children in Brazil. Eddie has also placed at the top of many jiu-jitsu world championships, and is married to jiu-jitsu world champion and fellow Cobra trainer Monique Ricardo. Padded floors are the central feature in their spacious school, where students grapple and practice holds and sparring during classes led by the Ricardos and their other experienced instructors. Cobra also offers competitive belt programs for members of all ages.
Chief instructor Mike Coffin first experienced life inside the ring at age 16, when the practice of tae kwon do led him to the art of boxing and kickboxing. At 18, his combative repertoire broadened to included wrestling and ground-fighting styles, but his collection of skills felt incomplete until he was introduced to krav maga in 2006 at the world's most brutal speed-dating event. The real-world foundations of the style—developed for use by the Israeli military—drew him in, and in four short years he achieved the rank of a Graduate 3 instructor.
Now, with the aid of five other teachers, Mike imparts no-nonsense self-defense principles to eager students at his personal studio, Crucible Krav Maga. Team members continue to train themselves rigorously to pick up new moves in the ever-evolving martial art, echoing Mike’s belief that the best way to help students is for instructors to become better fighters themselves.