Having promoted more than 300 students to the rank of black belt, Master Peter Antonelli knows how to recognize and develop a person's martial-arts skills. At Hudson Valley Karate, he and his staff draw from both tradition and progressive teachings to build a karate curriculum that caters to all experience levels. Adult classes cover choke holds and aggressive strikes, and are restricted to a small size so that instructors can devote their attention to individuals. Children's karate classes have a dual focus: form and character. They build social and leadership skills alongside self-defense movements, training kids to be confident in a variety of real-world settings. The studio also offers kickboxing fitness sessions, which tone muscle through rapid-fire punching and kicking drills.
At Connecticut Martial Arts, classically trained martial artist and fifth-degree tae kwon do black belt Master Steven Doyon leads a team of instructors who teach both the physical techniques and the philosophy of martial arts. Fitness-kickboxing classes teach participants to punch and kick as they shed weight. Muay thai kickboxing classes focus on the martial art's core techniques in intense lessons. Kids' martial-arts lessons teach youngsters to defend themselves against bullies as they acquire discipline and focus.
Candlewood Fencing Center's 6,000-square-foot facility gives fledgling fencers and seasoned pros the tools they need to develop their skill with sabers, foils, and ?p?es. Seventeen lunge workout stations allow students to hone attacks, and three electronic speed stations train reflexes to parry an incoming thrust or jury summons. The center is equipped with solid wood floors that are built with bounce, making lessons and sparring practice easy on students' joints.
Empire Martial Arts schools men and women ages 14 and older of all fitness and experience levels in the ways of krav maga, self-defense, and martial arts within a 6,500-square-foot studio. The real-world self-defense tactics of krav maga have been taken up by law enforcement, military, and vigilante anti-jaywalking groups across the globe as well as making ordinary civilians more sinewy, while fitness boot camp licks limbs into shape with varied high-energy routines. Mixed-martial-arts sessions stir up a potent cocktail from the kickboxing strikes and blocks of muay thai and the grappling techniques of Brazilian jujitsu. Each class has a different schedule with its own days, times, and recommended wine pairings.
If you're taking classes at US Budokai Karate Association, there's a chance your future children will go there, too. After all, it's happened before. Budokai has been one of Albany's most serious martial arts academies since 1987, and instructors say they've recognized countless surnames on their class rosters, only to find out they taught the pupils' parents, too.
If you do have a child you'd like to introduce to karate, you won't have to wait long. Classes in the Tiny Tigers program accept students as young as age four, teaching them not only balance and coordination, but also focus and teamwork. In fact, all of the classes at the studio focus as much on building character as on developing physical skills. That's not to say, though, that students don't use the classes to get in shape. The cardio kickboxing class, for instance, uses up-tempo dance music to keep students moving and make squares work out by shaking their fists in disapproval.
Being raised in the Burmese fighting styles by his grandfather and working as a professional fighter between the ages of 16–26, Phil Dunlap is fluent in the language of foot and fist. A time would come, however, that would physically challenge him more than any of the 114 professional fights he's participated in. Prior to his 26th birthday, he broke his neck in a car accident, forcing him to step out of the ring for what medical professionals thought would be forever. This didn’t sit well with Dunlap, who had been used to pushing himself since he was a child. On a mission to prove his doctors wrong, he worked long and hard enough to eventually fight again at the age of 36 and open his very own studio, Advanced Fighting Systems.
Today, he and his team lead classes, including Burmese boxing and mixed martial arts, which focus on self-defense and total-body fitness. They put students through standup striking drills and demonstrate how to wrap legs and arms around opponents to develop useful grappling skills for winning a match in the ring or convincing your boss to give you a raise. While the instructors help fighters train for competitive matches, they don't pressure anyone to go in that direction, creating an environment where everyone can feel free to achieve their own goals.