Mikyo Riggs began his martial arts training in 1990, instantly drawn to freestyle fighting before the world knew it as mixed martial arts. In his quest to become the best fighter he could, he studied boxing, muay thai, and enshin karate, and earned a black belt from Ralph Gracie in the grappling art of Gracie Jiu-jitsu. Eventually, though, he realized he didn't want to just use these techniques in the ring, he wanted to help others along the path he'd followed. So, he founded Marin Mixed Martial Arts in 2006.
Today, his school teaches students of all ages a wide range of martial arts—exactly the way Mikyo himself learned. Alongside Jiu-jitsu they teach muay thai kickboxing, kali stick fighting, wrestling, and a women-specific Jiu-jitsu and self-defense class. Yet no matter the class, the staff applies a simple, singular core value: 100% technique. They believe that more than strength or speed, practice always wins, so they encourage their students to bring discipline and focus to their training. Students have responded positively, voting the studio the Best Martial Arts School four times, most recently in the Pacific Sun's 2013 Reader's Choice Awards.
The Polk Street Gym is a boxing gym. It telegraphs its pugilistic philosophy to fitness by center-staging a large, full-size boxing ring just inside the sidewalk storefront windows that stretch from matted floor to lofted ceiling. Both aspiring sparers and everyday Joes, who only have thrown punches at dollar stealing vending machines, train like boxers. Members jump rope, run hills, hit bags, and shadowbox. These drills and exercises firm not just boxing skills, but also general cardio and strength capacity. With 29 classes to choose from, men and women, kids and adults find a fighter's heart in circuit training or boxing classes.
Dublin-bred, former Golden Gloves champion Simon Redmond leads a roster of trainers who are all current or past Golden Gloves champs, whose knuckles turn food, jaws, parking meters, and all they touch to gold. After immigrating to San Francisco in the mid-90s, Simon trained and fought for several years before opening a gym with a partner. At the start of 2010, Simon broke off on his own to open Polk Street Gym. He strives to whip people into shape through boxing, affirming his mission and his passion by writing that despite broken ribs, a broken nose, burst eardrums, and spilt blood, he has loved every minute of his boxing lifestyle.
At AB Mixed Martial Arts Academy, Pilates and boot-camp-style CrossFit sessions complement a rigorous sequence of muay thai, Capoeira, and Brazilian jujitsu classes taught by martial-arts champions. During introductory classes, instructors focus on fundamental techniques to accommodate patrons of all ages and experience levels. Advanced instruction augments the basics with self-defense strategies such as sweeps, counters, and submissions. Students can bolster their workouts with independent exercise at the newly remodeled workout area, which features a variety of equipment and weights. The kid's jujitsu program instills practical self-defense skills in a safe, age-appropriate environment, while also building confidence, discipline, and the focus needed to fill in SAT test bubbles telepathically.
Chests heave and hearts thump as clients congregate in K-One Fitness's 4,500-square-foot studio for individual workouts or martial arts and cardio fitness classes. A regulation-sized boxing ring, professional equipment, and an elite group of experienced pugilists facilitate add a real-world edge to high-octane boxing classes, one of many self-defense-oriented practices that also include Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, and muay thai. Fitness Boot Camps vanquish excess weight through varied sessions of aerobic exercise and expert fitness advice, building lean muscle without the boredom of wrestling a forklift to the ground over and over again.
During his time as a certified Thai massage practitioner, Carey "Kari" Hassinger has developed his own style. He works deep into muscles, using Old Medicine Hospital Thai massage techniques to release tension and restore the body's balance and range of motion. Working out of both San Francisco and San Mateo, Kari treats one or two people at a time, and occasionally dons lipgloss and eyeshadow to show his San Francisco pride. His couples massages are interactive and encourage duos to learn how to massage each other at home or massage the people in front of them at the symphony.
Aceituno Arts, a martial arts, dance, and music collective, invites neophytes and enthusiasts of all types to practice forms rich in tradition and full of health benefits. A Capoeira class will appeal to those sick of spinning in violent circles by themselves; enthusiastic instructors introduce newcomers to the myriad joys and traditions of the sport, which blends fighting, dancing, and music into an acrobatic martial smoothie. Wing Tsun Kung Fu, a pragmatic style of self-defense that exploits opponents' position and momentum, shows students how to turn the tables on any table-wielding opponents. Kemscrima-Doh teachings fuse armed and unarmed Chinese, Filipino, and Indonesian techniques in one unending slow-motion sequence. Or cut a proverbial rug with Argentinean tango or blues dance classes. Consult Aceituno Arts' schedule for dates; class length ranges from one to two hours. Biodanza and Tony Danza classes are not included in this Groupon.