At Bay Area Athletic Club, trainers blend elements of a fitness center, boxing gym, and kick-boxing club to imbue their clients with both physical-fitness knowledge and fighting skills. They offer casual and competitive programs and cross various platforms, which include children’s and adults boxing and kick-boxing, strength-and-conditioning classes, and competitive tracks for those interested in competing at an amateur level. Head trainer Muzammal Nawaz, a five-time world champion kickboxer, leads the club’s team of certified instructors and draws on more than 25 years of training experience to design programs for his clients.
Although seventh-degree black belt Mike Martin is a world taekwondo champion, his most-prized distinction is simply "dad." He takes the concept of family seriously, incorporating it into his studio's philosophy. He helms martial-arts classes in which whole clans of moms, dads, and siblings can learn the art of self-defence or settle unresolved remote-control battles together in the same session. He also leads classes designed exclusively for adults only and for kids only. In addition to hand-to-hand combat, Rising Sun instructors also lead kickboxing classes and boot camps, as well as courses in Korean swordsmanship.
International flags hang over the mat-covered practice area, which also boasts wall grips for climbing and a mountain-range mural. The space additionally plays host to kids’ birthday parties in which tots spend their afternoon taking in a martial-arts lesson, climbing on the walls, and breaking boards with their bare hands, just like carpenters who've replaced their hands with saws.
When watching an MMA fight, it's easy to forget that it's strategy?not strength?that determines a win. Instructor Lotfi Abdelli strives to impart this lesson at BJJ Ontario. He draws from his training in diverse martial-arts styles to teach the art of "kinetic chess," or Brazilian ju-jitsu, as well as MMA. The latter integrates the disciplines of boxing, kickboxing, ju-jitsu, and wrestling to create a fully balanced fighting method, one that combines standup- and ground-fighting techniques. And, while both BJJ and MMA training teach students how to subdue larger opponents, they also function as a fitness regimen that conditions the entire physique.
At Pro Dojos, certified martial-arts experts lead students of all ages and skill levels through a variety of pugilistic disciplines. Each location is independently owned, so the martial-arts styles may vary, but many offer karate, tae kwon do, kick-boxing, aikido, and jujitsu classes. The instructors elucidate the noble combat arts to kiddos as young as 4 years old, helping them build strength and motor skills while instilling the values of self-confidence. Teen classes focus on honing discipline and treating yourself and others with respect, and adult classes reinforce cardiovascular conditioning, strength, balance, and coordination. The instructors also lead classes for the whole family, allowing them to bond as a unit, which could possibly lead to starring in a hit sitcom about a crime-fighting family who takes down comical villains in their idyllic suburban neighborhood.
Having trained Amy Reid, the current Twin Dragon Canadian women’s flyweight champion, as well as Jason Leava, the USKBA men’s middleweight champion, the coaches at Effective Kickboxing know how to train those of all skill levels and fitness. Their client roster also includes heavy hitters such as Starr Guest, EOFL women's flyweight champion, and Robert Hymans, men's EOFL heavyweight and now the Twin Dragon Kickboxing association's super heavy weight champion. While working with such elite fighters dominates much of their time, instructors also help keep nonfighters in peak physical shape. During high-intensity classes, trainers combine endurance, strength, and flexibility exercises so that participants can burn up to 900 calories per session. Each class features enough kicks and punches to convince shadows to wear mouth guards, and coaches instruct on methods of maintaining balance, precision, and striking power.
In 1967, Monty Guest—a revered black belt who was one of the top students of Canada’s premier martial artist, Masami Tsuruoka—developed the Kai-Shin form, which translates to “open mind”. Although several thousand years separates the birth of karate from the founding of the Kai-Shin system, Kai-Shin is still rooted in history, providing students young and old with a time-tested approach to building confidence, improving self-discipline, and bolstering fitness.
With more than four decades of teaching under his black belt, Sensei Guest still remains KaiShin Martial Arts’ head instructor. He, alongside a small team of instructors, shares his accrued wisdom at two facilities, including one in Mississauga that features a ring devoted purely to sparring and re-enacting famous Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot matches.