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.
At Flip Zone, kids learn to do more than flips?they learn body awareness, self-confidence, and social skills through a range of fun and energetic activities. In the play center?s rainbow-colored gym, youngsters master somersaults and cartwheels, stride down the balance beam, and tackle other cheerleading and gymnastics fundamentals. The obstacle course layout ensures that kids stay active throughout their classes, whether they're doing reps of a simple exercise or trying a more challenging move, like a handstand in buttered gloves. Youngsters can try out new skills on their own in the center?s open gym sessions and birthday parties, which allow for less structured experimentation with gymnastics.