Before founding World Sports Fitness, Pierre F. Mouele routinely went toe-to-head in the ring, earning a kickboxing championship title. Finally, he hung up his gloves and retired his cactus-covered shoes so that he could use his boxing training to whip people into shape. Today, he puts his clients and classes through the same demanding conditioning regimen that prepared him to lay out his opponents.
His students cut swathes of muscle pummeling red, black, and blue punching bags in Shotokan karate and self-defense classes. Alternatively, clients heft weights and toss heavy balls during strength-conditioning courses, which help them sculpt a fighter's body without any of the impact exercises associated with traditional boxing training, such as getting constantly punched.
Blue and red padded squares glow underfoot in the vast gym, unused punching bags standing in neat ranks to the side of the space. Above them hang tidied rows of flags, representing the many nations and organizations from which World Sports Fitness draws its curriculum.
By practicing martial arts at Kil's Taekwondo Center, students of all ages and experience levels can learn to unlock their full potential while mastering valuable self-defense techniques. Grandmaster Yong Sup Kil oversees the organization, relying upon his 30 years of teaching experience?including time spent coaching students for international competitions?as he and his instructors help attendees improve their physical and mental fortitude.
Although classes explore various forms of self-defense, they emphasize the techniques of tae kwon do. That martial art aims to help students understand virtues like self-control, humility, and perseverance while teaching them how to protect themselves from assailants or stationary pieces of lumber. Since balanced self-improvement is the ultimate goal, the center also offers fitness classes that range from kickboxing and Zumba to yoga and tai chi.
Feet dance up and down the six electric strips that run across a 4,200-square-foot raised floor amid shouts of “En garde!” and blunted foils whipping through the air, meeting each other with the piercing ring of steel on steel or glancing off of padded vests. This scene takes place each weeknight at Salle d'Etroit Fencing Academy, where coaches Ben Schleis, Rebecca Keeling, and Jon Zelkowski teach the finer points of fencing, a sport originally developed by the French as an excuse to wear white after Bastille Day. The experts preside over classes for adults and youths, teaching them to wield foils, épées, and sabers.
In addition to organizing classes, the United States Fencing Association–sanctioned club hosts tournaments and matches pupils with new and used equipment at the pro shop. Should their weapons have issues after being used to clean whales' teeth, students can drop by the armory, where technicians take care of rewiring blades and other fixes.
Master Nick Colling views every student who walks into his studio as a potential black belt. If anyone knows what it takes to get there, it’s him—he holds black belts in multiple styles and boasts a martial-arts teaching career that spans more than 25 years. Colling and his team of knowledgeable instructors tutor students in tae kwon do, krav maga, and aiki-jitsu. Though they’re experts in each style, to them, the martial arts aren’t just about physical disciplines—the instructors believe their students emerge from the programs as better people in all areas of life.
Far more than just a sport, tang soo do, the main form of martial arts practiced at Redford Karate, is rooted in practiced traditions of respect, discipline, and the art of movement. A Korean-based martial art, the form is suited to all ages and experience levels, and teachers emphasize the importance that students move at a pace that is comfortable to them. Classes are organized by skill and belt rank, beyond the basic all-ages course, and pupils as young as 3 can learn listening skills, motor skills, and the importance of teamwork. A handful of cardio-based classes are also available, focusing on the intense physical workouts of kickboxing, MMA-based exercises, and upbeat, dance-inspired Zumba.
At Forum Fitness Center, people build brawn in group classes hosted within a training facility replete with free weights, cardio machines, and a 60-foot indoor swimming pool. Fleet-footed exercisers can run laps around the ghosts of their slower selves on the indoor track, and those who prefer stationary exercise can sweat it out on cardiovascular machines. Iron pumpers can work with free weights—solo or under the supervision of personal trainers—to mold a physique more perfectly sculpted than Michelangelo's homemade garden gnome. Each week, the spacious studios house more than 25 group fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, spinning, and Body Sculpt, during which thumping music scores a kinetic blend of weight-room exercises.