Positivity. Simple as it sounds, it's a central pillar of the philosophy behind Life Champ Martial Arts. At each of the school's five locations, the warm, supportive atmosphere starts with the instructors. Sure, they pass along years of martial arts wisdom, but they also strive to help students–younger ones, especially–realize that having fun doesn't necessarily mean sitting in front of a TV, or arguing the legitimacy of the moon landing with an imaginary friend. Through programs for kids, teens, and even entire families, Life Champ's instructors lead students along a path that builds self-confidence and improves self-defense techniques. Instructors build on these same skills in extracurricular offerings, which include after-school programs, birthday parties, and week-long summer camps.
Pat Tray likes to keep things simple: his vision is for a program of practical self-defense that encourages excellence and friendship. The owner and head instructor of Trident Academy of Mixed Martial Arts, Pat introduces students to a diverse study in fighting styles, from the fierce standup striking of muay thai to the leverage and technique of jujitsu. His students also delve into jeet kune do, the brainchild of legendary fighter Bruce Lee, as well as Filipino weapons fighting.
Sticks and stones may break some bones, but not if they’re directed toward one of Capital MMA & Elite Fitness’s students. In a team-oriented environment, the studio’s instructors teach key mixed-martial-arts moves such as grappling, striking, and wrestling and supplement the training with classes in specific fighting styles, such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu and muay thai. Guests looking for a practical crash course in self-defense learn snippets from each technique in self-defense classes, learning methods for staying aware of surroundings, fending off attackers, and freeing themselves from the grip of King Kongs. Some women-only classes are also available.
The studio's CrossFit program, alternatively, boosts athleticism without combat, through a multi-faceted regimen of Olympic weightlifting, cardio exercise, and custom diets. Beyond group classes, the center offers private lessons and seminars, which allow its students—both children to adults—to learn with focused guidance.
Since its founding by some of the most distinguished jujitsu experts in the past 50 years, the nonprofit organization USA Jiu Jitsu has helped establish jujitsu as a professional sport, teaching the ancient practice to students across the country. At its Springfield location, students of all ages build strength and endurance as they tumble and kick during Brazilian jujitsu, combat fitness, and kickboxing classes.
Vanguard Gym's trained fitness instructors specialize in martial-arts classes for adults and children, emphasizing teamwork, self-discipline, and physical fitness. Students can train in Brazilian jujitsu classes or learn combat exercises in advanced mixed martial arts sessions. CrossFit sessions welcome pupils of all fitness levels to powerlift weights and increase speed and agility, and kids' classes teach little ones the fundamentals of martial arts and techniques for defending themselves against an aggressive pet goldfish.
Karate master Kancho Ninomiya adapted the classic techniques of his favorite fighting style to the needs of modern self-defense, creating the style known as Enshin Karate. The fast-paced style emphasizes constant movement, a blend of kicks and grappling take-downs, and techniques for facing multiple opponents at once. The practical nature of the street-savvy style appealed to a young Nima Mazhari, who discovered a dojo on his way home from school one day.
Mazhari joined the school hoping to learn to fight, but instead discovered the value of a determined work ethic. The lessons he learned in that dojo inspired him to excel in school, pass his college-entrance exams, and pursue his degree. He then decided to share the lessons he had learned with the world. He founded Enshin Karate to not only teach kids and adults his fighting techniques, but to help them discover how to be the best versions of themselves without relying on personality upgrades downloaded online.