Open since 2005, West Coast Martial Arts promotes the spread of Mixed Martial Arts through the capable hands and feet of its expert instructors. From 23 locations, they train students of all ages and experience levels in the nuances of an international array of martial arts. Their fundamentals programs introduce tots, youths, and adults to some of the fastest-growing disciplines in North America, arming students with pragmatic self-defence skills that work as well in the heat of the moment as they do in the calm of the dojo. Instructors also lead an array of classes for more advance practitioners. Teaching the grappling and ground-fighting techniques of Brazilian jujitsu, they lead students in battling larger opponents with the holds and submissions of the Gracie street self-defence system. They round out their curriculum with the striking arts of kickboxing and muay thai, which is also called the "science of eight limbs." In this combat style, students unleash flurries of blows using their hands, feet, elbows, and knees, turning into a more fearsome opponent than Bruce Lee before he had his conjoined twin removed.
If each form of martial arts and self-defense was a different musical instrument, then Johnny Ahmed would be a one-man orchestra, one where every note could shatter a plywood board. For more than 15 years, Mr. Ahmed has immersed himself in the world of martial arts—he's mastered kickboxing and Muay Thai, earned a 5th degree black belt in Taekwondo and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and has become certified in Bas Rutten MMA. In fact, Bas Rutten himself even visited Mr. Ahmed's studio, Richmond Martial Arts.
The majority of visitors to Richmond Martial Arts, however, aren't master fighters. Mr. Ahmed and his fellow instructors work with adults and children of all levels, starting with students as young as two years old. Their kid-focused programs work to build discipline, social skills, and confidence, as well as keep kids fit and active. Instructors also host specialized "Bully Proof" workshops, helping little ones avoid harassment at school. Adult and teen programs, meanwhile, split off into specific martial arts. Instructors teach disciplines such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai kickboxing, and Taekwondo: a full-body workout that instills balance, strength, and flexibility. Regardless of the chosen program, the faculty helps students stay in shape and learn practical, real world self defense.
Canadian Hapkido President Master Michael Lok has traced a circuitous route to his current position as one of Canada’s highest ranked practitioners of hapkido, a Korean mixed martial arts style that claims millions of black belts worldwide. Born in Hong Kong, Lok studied in Regina, during which time he became interested in the fighting style's intricate kicks, strikes, and joint locks. After winning the Canadian Open Sparring Championship and amassing enough trophies to fill a tiny inflatable swimming pool, Lok decided to go to Korea—hapkido’s birthplace—for several years of intensive training. Now a seventh-level dan black belt, Lok passes on decades of martial-arts wisdom in his Richmond studio, which he proudly claims is Canada's largest dedicated hapkido facility. Open since 1996, the studio and its seasoned instructors help practitioners of all ages progress through hapkido's traditional belt system. In addition to boosting self-confidence, honing discipline, and improving physical fitness, the studio also inspires loyalty; current and past student alike helped honor Master Lok and company with a Richmond News Readers Choice Award for Best Martial Arts Studio multiple times over the past decade.
After a stint as a world-champion martial artist, Adam Ryan turned his fighting talents to teaching, quickly amassing a 30-3 record as an MMA coach. At Dynamic Mixed Martial Arts, Adam grooms the next generation of feared fighters, assisted by a staff of current professional fighters and wrestlers. The spacious gym includes 3,000 square feet of mat space, a realistic octagon, and a weight-training area with bumper weights, kettlebells, sandbags, and squat racks.
Under the guidance of third-degree black belt Sensei Joe, Ultraforce Kickboxing Mixed Martial Art’s trainees bolster their strength and coordination in intense kick-boxing workouts. Separate training groups for children, teenagers, and adults scale the difficulty to age-appropriate levels and help students build atop each other’s skills and conditioning regimens.
It's a fairly common image from the Middle Ages and from fairy tales: an armoured knight on horseback, riding triumphantly into battle wielding a sword. Today, of course, such a sight would have shocked witnesses almost immediately—unless they're at Academie Duello. A centre for European swordplay and Western martial arts, Academie Duello has revived centuries-old scenes similar to the one above. It teaches students ancient battle techniques, but does not re-enact epic duels or the well-documented silly-string wars that ensued when swords broke.
The 5,000-square-foot facility extracts skills and weapon information from authentic combat manuals and primary-source texts. Its instructors turn that knowledge into an in-depth curriculum, which today provides both adult and children's programs. Most of those programs also help students stay fit, as they replace weights and treadmills with longswords, shields, and rapiers. To immerse themselves further into knighthood, students can check out Academie Duello's museum, which preserves an ever-growing collection of weapons of war, armour, and fight books.