A seventh-degree black belt in hapkido. An eighth-degree black belt in taekwondo. A 10th-degree black belt in karate. A masters certification in the martial arts from Seoul National University in South Korea. This laundry list of accomplishments belongs to Grand Master Myung II Kim, a South Korea native who started practicing martial arts at the ripe young age of five. At MIK Martial Arts, he and fellow instructors bring their varied areas of MMA expertise to martial arts classes for children and adults. Classes span a wide variety of martial arts; student might find themselves sparring with opponents in karate, jiu-jitsu, taekwondo, and even bowstaff combat.
With more than 2,000 years of history behind it, tae kwon do merges traits of karate and kung fu into a form of combat often characterized by its white uniforms, powerful strikes, and devastating kicks. Although Master Michael Han of Best US Tae Kwon Do Academy Martial Arts Center trains his students how to execute these moves, he believes tae kwon do is ultimately predicated on the desire for peace. To that end, he fosters a community that promotes self-discipline, respect, and confidence.
In addition to traditional tae kwon do, Master Han teaches classes in two other Korean combat styles: hap ki do and tang soo do. The former is characterized by its strong joint locks and use of weapons such as staffs, nunchucks, and barbed insults; in the latter, practitioners dole out self-defense techniques with empty hands and bare feet.
At Ring of Fire Martial Arts Academy, most of the instructors are amateur or professional fighters who blend a quartet of hapkido, muay thai, boxing, and kickboxing into fitness sessions. These classes boast resistance training that can help burn fat, tone muscle, and increase endurance and stamina along with flexibility.
The ARC – Arcadia Rock Climbing’s savvy instructors lead beginner climbers through classes to elucidate the art of bouldering. Bouldering condenses the challenge of scaling a wall by contorting the vertical plane into strange shapes, inversions, convexes, and concaves. The low-level walls present significant physical challenges and tests of stamina, much like climbing a pole slicked in baby oil. After gearing up with the necessary climbing equipment, climbers will spend 30 minutes learning the basics of foot placement and grip types, testing the wall's colorful crags. After the lesson, students can stick around and log extra climbing time with a day pass, mastering wall-crawling techniques for sneaking up on unsuspecting chimney sweeps.
The founder of Shaolin Kempo Karate and Villari Martial Arts, Grandmaster Frederick Villari is a 12th-degree blackbelt—the highest rank one can achieve. His style blends Japanese and Chinese martial arts with Western boxing, resulting in a fighting system that helps students employ practical self-defense tactics. The system is also rooted in peace and harmony, leading students to also develop life skills such as discipline, respect, and confidence. Grandmaster Villari has been teaching for more than 40 years, and his style has spread to more than 500 schools that currently teach the method.
The instructors at Waterworks Aquatics believe anyone can learn to swim, no matter their age. This belief drives each instructor-led session, accommodating everyone from babies as young as 3 months old who are just getting acquainted with the water, to older children learning more advanced strokes and adults learning to swim for the first time. The instructors focus on teaching stroke techniques that utilize muscle memory and rhythms that are easy to grasp, while cultivating a fun, relaxed environment to help reduce students' anxiety. They lead private, semiprivate, group, and Parent and Me lessons, all of which move at the pace of the swimmers' abilities. Beyond bestowing swimmers with efficient form, the lessons also help them stay safe in the water by teaching them how to control their breathing, reduce unnecessary movement, and stay completely still in the presence of pool krakens to avoid begin seen.
Sityodtong USA is affiliated with Thailand's world-renowned, champion-producing Sityodtong Muay Thai Training Camp. Its west coast gym is considered by many to have legendary status. The gym has partnered with PowerBar TeamElite and NBC's The Biggest Loser, and its fighters won a combined 6 belts in Muay Thai and MMA in 2012. Classes in Brazilian jiu jitsu, boomer- and teen-specific boxing, and Muay Thai fill the gym’s schedule, which also includes open gym time where athletes can practice on their own. With up to 80 classes per week, Sityodtong USA offers technical and competition training and experience paths that range from beginner to advanced, including a "get fit without getting hit" combat fitness program.