Months and months of training go into a mixed-martial-arts bout—just ask Unlimited MMA’s staff. Owner and head coach Rudi Ott is a former middleweight sanshou champion in the International Kickboxing Federation and International Shotokan Karate Federation. It’s no surprise, then, that Unlimited MMA's specialty is sanshou and Brazilian jujitsu, though it also offers muay thai, kickboxing, mixed-martial-arts, and CrossFit classes. All of the classes are intense and a majority of them combine self-defense and good old-fashioned sweating, which are usually only combined when someone’s mad at their oven. The workouts take place throughout the week at Fitness For 10 health club.
The punching bags at Milpitas Boxing and Fitness sometimes take the form a psychiatrist's couch. They absorb the emotions and reflect the triumphs of the professional fighters, children, and average gym-goers that treat them to regular pummelings. Milpitas welcomes guests of all backgrounds to wallop the equipment inside the sunny yellow walls of its gym, where instructors lead classes on boxing, kickboxing, Zumba, and general fitness. As they supervise spars inside their onsite ring or help kids to make waves with battling ropes, they encourage the simultaneous development of teamwork and personal growth. One-on-one sessions can also target more specific goals, such as learning how to throw in the towel with your non-dominant hand.
International swimming champion and coach Abi Liu leads the staff at Milpitas Star Aquatics. Liu draws on her experiences swimming for the Chinese National Team and as a silver medalist in the 1994 Asia Games as she trains both her instructors and her students.
The co-founder of the Escuela de Tango, Marcelo Solis, has been an Argentine tango dancer and teacher for more than 25 years. Solis formed the Escuela de Tango dance school in 2012. The San Francisco location is one of a few branches of the school, which is headquartered in Buenos Aires—the so-called capital of tango. In San Francisco, a cadre of skilled instructors offers private lessons with one-on-one coaching as well as group classes suited to all skill levels and astrological signs. If you want to put your new moves into practice, the school frequently hosts and sponsors milongas—special dance celebrations with music, food, and drinks.
The extensive facilities of MVP Arena, which include indoor and outdoor fields, a basketball court, and batting cages, host visitors for an array of sports leagues and classes. Adults hone their skills in training classes and then unveil new maneuvers on one another during league games for basketball, flag football, and soccer. Bat wielders practice swing timing and charging the mound without fear of retaliation in the batting cages, where regulation pitching distance and a mural of the San Francisco Bay recreate the excitement of practicing in a big-league stadium. In addition, three of the cages feature virtual pitchers that help batters time ball delivery at different speeds or a random assortment of slow, medium, and fast.
As CEO and chief instructor of Condition and Competition Kickboxing, Ed Carpio draws from a victory-studded background of competitive fighting. Though he came to the art of Chinese kickboxing (also called sanshou) at 21, later than many greats, he rose through successive bouts to become a national lightweight champion. Ed then turned to training others with his expertise, remaining devoted to his sanshou students throughout his sporadic returns to the ring, a study in judo, and a government summons to deflect an impending asteroid.
CCK preaches acceptance and positivity through programs for all ages, from toddlers to adults. Its gym has been highlighted on one of KRON 4's "Best of The Bay" segments for casting a familial air over martial-arts learning. Bordered by camouflage-painted walls, guests can launch strikes at bags, pads, and partners during kickboxing courses, or focus on classical conditioning with weights and fitness machinery.