Francisco Antonio Rodrigues da Silva⎯better known to his students as Mestre Fran⎯began his journey with Caopeira at age 10, studying the ancient dancelike martial art under a seasoned teacher in Sao Paolo. After years of learning the hypnotic rhythmic moves of Capoeira and studying the African dance rhythms of Macuele, Mestre Fran took his art to the streets of Londrina, Brazil, giving impoverished youth a positive outlet for their creative energies with public performances and classes. After developing a successful martial arts organization in his home country, Mestre Fran set out for the United States in 2002, introducing Americans to Caoperia through cultural shows throughout the Atlanta area and instructing newcomers through beginner, children's, and adult classes.
Like punching a portrait of your smug fruit bowl, capoeria combines both art and fighting. The practice develops the mind, body, and spirit by instilling self-confidence, building agility and strength, and teaching students about the vibrant culture of Brazil. Capoeiristas twist and bob to the rhythm of drums as they execute gymnastic kicks and turns, or they show off their newfound knowledge at the studio's Friday-night Samba, Macuele, and Portuguese language classes.
At Total Boxing, students study under experienced athletes and instructors, learning the swift leg strikes, powerful blocks, and delicate balancing skills of muay thai. Adults and children alike hone their agility, strength, and speed during invigorating lessons, safely sparring with other fighters, or practicing fist and footwork on the gym's ample collection of specially designed training bags. In addition to perfecting a blinding flurry of high-kicking feet, visitors to Total Boxing turn abs and core muscles into rippling sinew, and learn effective self-defense strategies. The part-gym, part-dojo operates with its own in-house graduated belt system to mark students' progress and development, shunning the meaningless belt-doling and cupcake-gifting of corporate academies. Other classes include the core building of Pilates, the chokes and locks that make up Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and the functional workouts in boot-camp classes.
In 1992, Atlanta Kick opened as a karate dojo, teaching martial arts with an emphasis on respect, physical fitness, and discipline. By 2000, the certified trainers at Atlanta Kick had punched through the wooden planks blocking them from bringing their studio to the next level of fitness by adding boot camps. Now, 13 years later, Atlanta Kick is bigger and stronger than ever. They still teach karate classes for children and adults, but they’ve added a slew of hard-hitting fitness classes to keep their boot camps company, including CrossFit, self-defense, and kickboxing. Certified trainers help motivate clients to blast through workout plateaus.
For $40, you get 10 classes at Trinity Fitness, located at 828 Ralph McGill Blvd. At just $4 per class, that's an unbeatable 60% discount off the $100 value. Trinity is an all-women fitness center with a variety of classes, many focusing on martial arts. Drop in on group exercise classes, including:
As children, two brothers witnessed firsthand the violence that can destroy a home. As adults, the vowed that their daughters would never suffer the same fate. That’s why they founded Divas In Defense, a safe haven for girls and women to learn self-defense techniques. At their personal-safety classes and self-defense workshops, healthy self-esteem and mental strength develop naturally as women learn how to use their own bodies or those of any nearby mannequins to defend themselves. Trainers hone simple strikes and kicks at beginner classes, which evolve into ground techniques at intermediate classes and defense against armed attackers at advanced classes. Their Girls Can Fight Too! program welcomes students as young as 7 to learn how to stave off bullying, date violence, and interact appropriately online, among other skills.