Owned by a cadre of US-military veterans, The Kung Fu School operates under the direction of Sifu Houston Fuqua—a martial-arts prodigy who started out when he was 7 years old and taught his first class when he was 12. Sifu Houston went on to serve in the US Army, where he developed unquestionable discipline while training in special operations and ordinance. While serving his country, he continued his martial-arts training, earning two black sashes in two styles of kung fu. His skills caught the attention of a Chinese monastery, where he was invited to spend up to eight years perfecting his art. However, Houston declined this honor in order to stay home and continue teaching his students.
Today, Sifu Houston tutors his pupils in martial-arts styles such as my jhong law horn, wing chun, hung gar, and tai chi. His cohort, Sandy Kehoe, works in real estate by day and assists Sifu by night. She, too, is a product of armed-services discipline, as she spent four years in the Air Force, two years studying kung fu, and proudly wears a red sash. The duo facilitates classes on kung fu, mixed martial arts, self-defense, personal training, cardio kickboxing, and tai chi. They strive to imbue each session with the spirit of kung fu, which means “success through effort”—a phrase first uttered by the man who built the Great Wall of China.
During the two-hour sessions, participants will learn how to parry common strikes, slip out of grabs and holds, disable attackers, and cause confusion with Jedi mind tricks. Student defenders will also acquire tactics on escaping an over-sized attacker and how to defend against weapons. Class leader and multiple black belt Tim Mousel has been training people in martial arts since 1980, the year he invented martial arts. He leads group courses in the afternoon and evening most every Sunday in and around the Houston area. Check out a schedule of upcoming classes here. This class makes a priceless gift for a wife, friend, or sister akin to the passing of the family-heirloom mace.
Dakao Do, Sword to Sword’s instructor, protects the secrets of ancient, historical European martial-art forms that date back to the early 1300s. Specializing in the longsword, sword and buckler, and dussack, he wields these weapons to show newbies how to safely and respectfully honor historical fighting systems. Though he mainly focuses on Germanic swordsmanship, Dakao also leads programs that explore other fighting methods such as grappling, dagger, rapier, and saber.
Brazilian jujitsu could be considered the black sheep of the martial-arts family. Instead of relying on raw force and strength like many disciplines, Brazilian jujitsu uses leverage and precise movements to land blows and defeat opponents. That’s why students at Gracie Barra’s 300+ locations worldwide come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, Brazilian jujitsu often inspires entire families—mom, dad, kids, and security blankets with faces drawn on them—to get in shape and learn the art of self-defense. Its main focus is grappling on the ground, an experience made easier by the new Westchase location’s 2,000 square feet of zebra floor mats. Students learn the basics during a Fundamentals Program, tackle varied techniques at mixed martial arts, or get on the fast track to victory at Future Champions. No matter the class, students are taught by highly trained instructors.
Even at a 135 pounds, Carlos Gracie Sr. could take down fighters of any size using the Gracie-style of jiu jitsu he created in the early 1900s. By fusing traditional Japanese jiu jitsu with the "no rules" style of fighting he encountered on the streets of Brazil, Carlos was able to submit his opponents and have them bake apology-brownies each and every time. This led the skilled warrior to post articles in local newspapers challenging anyone to test their skills against him and his refined fighting techniques. Nearly a century later, this tradition of "open calling" still remains a main guiding principle in the Gracie style of jiu jitsu, which is now taught across the world.
Though the youngest son of Carlos Gracie's 21 children, Rilion Gracie has made a name for himself in the worlds of jiu jitsu and MMA. Employing his father’s philosophies and techniques—self-discipline, healthy eating, and controlled combat—Rilion has had a successful 33-year fighting career as a black belt, and coached such international fighters as Renzo and Rolles to victories. Rilion also established sparring studios throughout Brazil—many of which have gained praise from local and international newspapers—as well as studios in Ireland, Australia, and Puerto Rico.
At his own studios in Houston and Miami, Rilion and a dedicated team of instructors teach students of all skill levels the fighting techniques and secret steak-marinade recipes of the Gracie family. Little ones aged 4–7 learn the importance of patience as they sharpen hand-eye coordination during educational games, and teens build confidence by learning anger-free self-defense. Rilion also trains air marshals and law-enforcement officials as well as advanced students training to compete in official MMA matches or crocodile-wrestling competitions.