Academy of Fighting Arts instructor and 5th-degree black-belt Clinton Murphy can shatter several objects with his bare hands, from coconuts to concrete blocks. It's a skill known as "breaking," and Murphy claims that it's just as mental as it is physical. This and other martial-arts skills have led to appearances on ESPN2, The Late Show with David Letterman, and the Discovery Channel. At Academy of Fighting Arts, he teaches his students how to hone their own mental focus and martial-arts techniques, emphasizing good form and discipline over brute strength—just as he does when he's preparing to break 14 slabs of concrete in a stack.
When teaching a class, Murphy's martial arts style of choice is American-Filipino Kun Tao. This mix of pressure-point strikes, grappling, and joint-lock throws is ideal for close-quarters fighting. Murphy covers these maneuvers as well as escrima, or stick-fighting, in his adult sessions, whereas kids' classes focus more on teamwork and basic drills. He also hosts four-week self-defense seminars for women, which demonstrate how to effectively escape and subdue an assailant.
Chung Do Kwan is one of the oldest styles of Kwan and was a precursor to Taekwondo. The style trains students to achieve their potential through focused concentration and disciplined instruction. It rolls all aspects of training in the martial arts into one powerful package. Every lesson will leave you with a complete workout of the physical, mental, and spiritual corners of your bodily triangle.
Locke's Karate Academy's skillful staff will train Groupon-holding block-breakers in one of two martial arts disciplines. The Korean discipline of Tang Soo Do, the close cousin and occasional doubles-tennis partner of Tae Kwon Do, focuses on aerobic kicks and cardiovascular fitness. Practitioners of the Okinawan Goju-Ryu style—which is traced back to the Fukien province of China but founded on the Japanese island of Okinawa—build muscle strength and practice powerful punches for close-in fights or recurring nightmares about battling fighting-nun puppets. Under the tutelage of Sensei Aaron Locke, who moonlights as an attorney, students will absorb a working knowledge of the etiquette, philosophy, and statute of limitations laws of the country their chosen style originated in, transforming their fitness regimen into a holistic educational experience.
The martial-arts masters at AKKA Karate USA specialize in kenpo karate, a unique form that builds muscle tone and reflexes in order to use the body’s natural weapons—hands and feet—for self-defense. In addition to kenpo, they also lead classes focused on MMA, tai chi, and weapons training. Often, AKKA holds special events such as tournaments and sparring seminars. In addition to learning self-defense techniques, students also build valuable life skills such as an appreciation for fitness, discipline, and self-confidence.
After a stint on the Junior Olympics sprinting team and dip into the limelight on the UK television series Gladiator, Jonquil Baugh refocused her passion for physical prowess into helping other people achieve their desired level of fitness. She puts her extensive experience to use by providing individuals and small groups with personal training suitable for all fitness levels.
During 30- and 60-minute group classes, trainers lead workouts that incorporate functional, strength, and cardiovascular exercises. Students cycle through a range of routines, interspersing interval-style workouts that involve brief periods of intense exertion with longer periods of sustained, less-strenuous activity. See the class schedule.
At Kempo Fitness, Glen Bartlett and his staff help students of all ages build confidence and lean muscle through martial arts. The studio's flagship program, Kempo karate, draws from nearly 500 years of tradition and focuses on a graceful combination of circular and linear movements. Other classes merely use martial arts as a jumping-off point. Cardio kickboxing, for example, distills the discipline's rapid-fire punches and kicks into a workout that's even more challenging than fitting boxing gloves on your feet.
As its name implies, Welcome Mat Elite presents a friendly, supportive atmosphere for getting in shape and learning the martial arts. Fittingly, the training center lacks the machismo and vicious henchmen often found in globogyms and chain dojos. The coaches bring to the mat a wealth of championships, belts, and professional experience. On a mission to instruct—never to showboat—they help students build their bodies and minds with everything from the wholesome after-school education of kids' kodokan judo to the light weight work and circuit-training techniques of boxing strength training.
The academy's curriculum focuses on functional strength and useful self-defense strategies gained through shingitai jujitsu's three-fold regimen of mental and emotional maturity, technical skill, and physical fitness. Whether they're practicing throws and ground-fighting moves during friendly grappling contests or sweating and kicking during cardio boot-camp classes, students at Welcome Mat constantly challenge themselves to be better both in body and mind.