In the tradition of mixed martial arts, experienced fighter Paul Mendoza and his expert instructors fuse boxing, weight lifting, and calisthenics to create whole-body workouts in their signature Fighter Fit Conditioning program. In addition to improving heart and lung function, the aim of the classes is to create leaner, more toned bodies of both men and women in a communal atmosphere. Matted training areas cover the 8,200-square-foot facility, where heavy bags and treadmills await pounding. Locker rooms for men and women store personal items.
Weak bodies are whittled into lean, muscular fighting machines as instructors at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) teach the martial arts styles used for UFC competition, self-defense, and overall conditioning. Men, women, and kids train in the company of students such as professional fighter Cain Velasquez and instructor Daniel Cormier, a former Olympian. AKA splits its MMA, jujitsu, and muay thai kickboxing classes among four facilities, with group-training sessions and private professional sessions taking place in modern training studios with heavy bags, speed bags, and Olympic-grade mats. The Hillside location also features a professional-size ring for sparring or marriage-proposal practice, and the two-story AKA headquarters on Realm Avenue highlights an MMA cage, TRX suspension room, and cardio theater stocked with StairMasters and Jacobs Ladder machines.
The term martial arts generally refers to Eastern-born fighting techniques, but not at Three Sixty Training. In addition to jujitsu and MMA, the martial-arts studio offers kajukenbo, a martial art that originated in America. The practice weaves together five styles of combat into a single mode of self-defense learned largely through bag work, sparring, and grappling. At Three Sixty Training, instructors teach their unique brand of kajukenbo, incorporating a strong emphasis on boxing and jujitsu.
Xtreme Martial Arts & Fitness Center’s owner, Payam Bagheri, takes on students aged 3–60 in his quest to spread the art of muay thai. Far from regarding the ancient martial art—which incorporates strikes from the fists, feet, elbows, and knees—as simply a means of fighting or very forcefully hailing a cab, Payam and his staff also gear classes toward fitness with their X-Fit kickboxing programs. All lessons take place in their 5,000-square-foot facility, where students battle punching bags or spar against padded partners. An additional 2,000-square-foot personal-training studio provides space for one-on-one conditioning, which removes all competitive aspects from training, aside from the quest to wipe that smug smile off of your shadow’s face.