At Connecticut Martial Arts, classically trained martial artist and fifth-degree tae kwon do black belt Master Steven Doyon leads a team of instructors who teach both the physical techniques and the philosophy of martial arts. Fitness-kickboxing classes teach participants to punch and kick as they shed weight. Muay thai kickboxing classes focus on the martial art's core techniques in intense lessons. Kids' martial-arts lessons teach youngsters to defend themselves against bullies as they acquire discipline and focus.
At LA Boxing, an orchestra of fists and feet slapping heavy bags resounds through the gym. Nobody here settles for punching empty air; instead, professional-grade bags and training mitts absorb blows chucked by students of all skill levels who can burn up to 1,000 calories during fitness classes. Although each boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts class is an authentic fight-training regimen led by a professional fighter, students never have to step into the ring.
Though most people consider boxing an intense sport, anyone can benefit from the sport’s cardiovascular workouts and discipline-building routines. That’s why the experienced instructors at Fitness Through Boxing tailor one-on-one training to the goals and needs of each client. Instructors mine their expertise in kickboxing and mixed martial arts to create comprehensive programs that tone physiques while improving self-defense abilities. The trainers also lead circuit-training classes that deliver the cardiovascular and muscle-toning benefits of a boxer's workout. Students spend 60 minutes shadowboxing, working on one of the center’s heavy or speed bags, and practicing combination drills that work all the muscle groups in the body as well as their metaphysical spirits. The facility also features a weight-training room, showers, and an in-house ring for sparring.
Under the tutelage of Shihan Allie Alberigo, students of all ages learn the arts of ninjutsu and classical jujitsu, revamped for contemporary warriors. With four decades of martial-arts training under his belt, Allie Alberigo teaches his students about hand-to-hand combat and the use of weapons; he has also expanded classes to include disciplines such as judo, yoga, and kickboxing. The Little Warrior program builds punching ability in children as young as 3, and the Third Eye Insight program includes martial arts, yoga, and meditation classes for students who are blind or visually impaired. During these classes, sighted students can also spar and learn while wearing blindfolds. The facility includes two training floors and an archery range, which gives students ample room to flex without destroying nearby equipment.
When it comes to martial arts, Krav Defense founder and head instructor Anthony Santopadre has done it all. He began studying karate and judo 25 years ago, then earned his first and second black belts in the art of jujitsu. After 10 years of training, Santopadre decided to expand his horizons and belt collection yet again, studying for and receiving his third black belt in kung fu.
It was during his kung fu education that Santopadre discovered krav maga. The instinctive movements, practical techniques, and realistic training scenarios appealed to Santopadre, so he immersed himself in the discipline and became a certified level-three instructor through the Krav Maga Security Federation in Israel. He shares his ability to disable assailants and wrestle nuts away from squirrels in a variety of classes, including fitness-focused cardio sessions and ground-fighting classes that focus on takedowns and submissions. The techniques of krav maga are tools for self-defense that can be effectively carried out by men, women, and children.
When JoJo Guarin isn’t taking down expert fighters twice his size in invitation-only professional grappling tournaments, he’s designing the curriculum at East Coast United BJJ & MMA. A swimmer before he was a fighter, Guarin advocates the use of cross-training as the primary method of getting his students in shape. This leaves him and his instructors time to focus purely on technique in Braziliain jujitsu, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. The team sets up the schedule to provide specific times for beginners to practice, welcoming men, women, children, and teenaged turtles of all skill levels into their training sessions. When the combative fire in students’ veins flickers out, exercisers can center themselves and increase their flexibility under the tutelage of certified YogaFit instructor Jessica Mondello.