Most people are familiar with the idea of a silent attacker, but at Aikido Canada, eighth-level Dan Kevin Blok Kyoshi and his certified Dan instructors teach the quiet art of aikido self-defense. Instead of kicking, punching, and breaking boards, aikido classes demonstrate lock holds, pins, and takedowns to help children and adults alike nonviolently defend themselves. These moves help the student control an attacker without harming them or having to restrain them with Chinese finger traps. All of their classes allow students build their character with self-development and self-improvement, not the destruction of others. Kevin’s lengthy resumé includes such highlights as authoring four books, earning the Canada 125 medal for service to his country, and founding the Chudokai Aikido Federation International.
My Tactical Advantage's experienced trainers help their pupils build up a strong sense of self-worth and hone their bodies into shape. A former U.S. Marine Sergeant draws from his experiences bodyguarding presidents and defending embassies to teach his students about fitness and close combat. During aerobic boot camps, he helps them put their doubts and self-judgments in a crippling suplex with kettlebells, stretching, toning exercises, cardio and strength training, cardio kickboxing, and mitt work.
Far more than a mere gym, My Tactical Advantage helps its students build all-important self-esteem. The identity-reconstruction program helps people adopt new personas for themselves by emphasizing positive character traits, such as bravery and the ability to chew through iron bars. In addition to empowering individuals, the fitness and training center aims to improve the community by nipping violence at its root with the pro-responsibility and anti-bullying TRUST youth program.
At The Fighting Fit, certified instructors sharpen both kids’ and adults’ muscles and minds through lessons in krav maga and CrossFit sessions. Hebrew for "close or contact combat," the krav maga was created by Imi Lichtenfeld for the Israeli army, who needed a hand-to-hand fighting system that could be learned by anyone regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability. Unlike traditional martial arts, krav maga involves no forms, but rather teaches students basic self-defense skills. The multipurpose gym also leads CrossFit Bad Boys sessions that jump-start metabolisms and build dynamic, functional strength and balanced fitness. At least one instructor guides students and all times during classes, and the team offers personal training for individuals who fear being alone in a room with kettlebells.
Unlike regular warehouses, with their shelves of boxes and closets full of forklift bones, The Workout Warehouse fills its spaces with a different kind of inventory: lost pounds, new goals, and personal records. And, unlike most gyms, this facility strictly offers classes, creating a communal environment that encourages exercisers to rally around their health-oriented objectives, as well as each other. Through contract-free memberships and drop-in capabilities, guests gain access to multiple classes daily, including spin, boot camp, Zumba, and boxing. Extra inspiration is never too far, as the facility holds frequent contests that add a hint of competition to workout routines.
Master Kevin Nilson leads students of all ages—from 4 years old to adults—through self-defense classes and a lineup of Korean martial-arts styles. Self-defense classes arm students with the tools to fend off physical assaults and the precision to knock someone's socks off without harming their toes. For those ready to undertake the long-term belt system, New Edge Martial Arts fully tests and certifies attendees age 4 and older in Taekwondo, Tang Soo Do, and for those eligible, Hap Ki Do— where they will learn self-confidence, self-control, and self-defense skills while gaining enhanced strength, agility, and endurance.
Brent Insco had already roundhouse-kicked his way to a black belt in karate, trained with boxers, and learned krav maga when a car crash laid him low. As part of his physical therapy, he soldiered on in his martial endeavors and began the decade-long process of becoming a Brazilian jujitsu master. That was in 2004, and to this day he still makes frequent sojourns to San Diego to study under the BJJ legends, Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, who themselves learned the art at Gracie Humaitá, established by the creator of BJJ, Hélio Gracie. At his own studio, Downriver Jiu Jitsu & Fitness, Insco teaches students of all ages the fighting form—a judo-like discipline founded on the principle that a small fighter can best a larger opponent, as in the tale of David and Goliath or the popular children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, It Will Destroy You. Insco’s trainers also lead fitness classes, such as Latin-inspired Zumba dance, boot camp, yoga, and Bruce Lee’s martial-arts system, jeet kune do, and work with clients one on two in semi-personal-training sessions.