Jeff and Mary Nelson, the head instructors at Focus Kids Karate Academy, hold classes for students of all ages, but their specialty is kids. They design specialized programs for kids aged 3–4 and 5–17, in which students learn karate and important life lessons such as discipline, manners, and self-control. Kids can also learn Brazilian jujitsu. For adults, the academy offers Brazilian jujitsu, fitness kickboxing, and full-contact MMA classes that blend styles such as Brazilian jujitsu, Western boxing, muay thai kickboxing, and wrestling.
At Gorilla Combat, students draw inspiration from the primate world, in which bands of gorillas bond by playing, wrestling, and protecting one another with weapon-free defense maneuvers. Certified trainers and pro fighters lead classes for all levels of skill and fitness, teaching kids how to punch during youth boxing lessons and showing grown-ups how to grapple during judo, jujitsu, and MMA sessions. In addition to cultivating strength and confidence, classes equip students with enough stamina, coordination, and discipline to perform an accordion while running a marathon. Full-size boxing rings welcome practice jabs and full-blown muay thai matches, and a collection of barbells and rowing machines helps athletes condition their muscles between classes or bouts. The instructors also offer personal training for those wishing to toughen up for a fight or an onslaught of sour-faced emoticons.
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Grandmaster Byung Yul Lee founded World TaeKwonDo Academy in 1969 after emigrating to the U.S. from South Korea. Today, his legacy continues to shine at the academy, now run by his son. At their 12 locations, instructors teach traditional and sport taekwondo, unlocking the secrets of the discipline’s signature kicks and strikes. Teen and adult classes incorporate self-defense, tension exercises, and cardiovascular workouts, and little dragons lessons teach focus and coordination to students aged three to five. After-school taekwondo combines daycare with martial arts; after grabbing a ride to the academy, students pair homework sessions with confidence-building taekwondo lessons. In addition to the academy’s namesake martial art, students of all ages can also expand their combat knowledge with jiujitsu, cardio kickboxing, mixed martial arts, or kumdo sword training, or enroll in a yoga class to balance body and mind.
Gordon Franks and Pat Worley are more than black belts. They’re ninth-degree black belts who share their chosen martial art with youngsters and adults alike through USA Karate, the school they cofounded. The school - which opened in 1973 and has been operating for more than 40 years - was featured on the local CBS station and teaches self-defense techniques that help students graduate to higher-level belts and translate into increased agility, coordination, and self-confidence.
Though Allan Charney had been a consummate athlete all his life, he never found a sport that could match the workout intensity and adrenaline rush of boxing. "It has always been a dream to blend boxing and kickboxing with fitness," Allan explained to reporters from Sun Sailor. Allan realized his longtime dream when he founded GYMJAB, a private fitness studio where instructors lead high-intensity cross-training workouts designed to help burn high caloric amounts and build muscle strength. These workouts are infused with rounds of boxing and muay thai kickboxing. His diverse staff of trainers includes former professional boxers, tae kwon do black belts, amateur MMA fighters, and certified fitness instructors.
The 6,500-square-foot studio abounds with cardio machines, functional conditioning equipment, heavy punching bags and several large-screen televisions. These televisions can broadcast each guest's heart rate, calories, effort percentage, and total number of 13-point Scrabble words spoken aloud during workouts. These figures are tracked through the gym's innovative heart-rate system, which records activity using specialized heart-rate monitors worn by participants. After workouts, students can view their workout summaries and track progress online and receive performance summaries by email, enabling them to adjust workout strategies and fitness goals accordingly.
Wolves Den Fitness's expert instructors help pupils sculpt sleek physiques with a schedule of fitness classes flush with cardio, strength training, and hand-to-hand combat. Specializing in a panoply of fighting styles, instructors lead Wolves Den classes that arm students with muay-thai, boxing, and mixed-martial-arts techniques to burn fat by pummeling punching bags. Non-confrontational classes such as yoga and pole dancing teach students to beat back the advancing armies of flab while toning muscles.