Paul Hafner trained as a mixed martial artist with Russian kettlebell techniques for more than a decade before sharing his methods with professional fighters. Now, the certified kettlebell instructor owns Trident Russian Kettlebell Training, where he and his fellow cannonball throwers craft challenging workouts that not only slim figures but also build strength and endurance. He also equips police officers with physical fitness instruction, defensive tactics, and punchy one-liners.
Though the instructors at Freestyle Martial Arts Academy focus on teaching students proper martial arts techniques, they strive for more. They motivate students of all ages to whip into shape while performing karate kicks, capoeira moves, and tai chi positions, while also instilling important life values. Along the way, kids develop self-esteem, discipline, and a sense of respect. Beyond breaking a sweat in martial arts classes, adults can burn calories in heart-pumping salsa, bachata, and Zumba classes.
Grandmaster Dennis Tosten founded the first Amerikick in 1967 and has since taught several champion fighters, police officers, and everyday students karate and self-defense. Today, the lauded chain teaches fitness classes inspired by martial arts, including cardio kickboxing in six states. Each location upholds a curriculum that blends Chinese and Japanese martial-arts styles—including kenpo and tae kwon do—with modern self-defense strategies, further updating traditional practices by eschewing uniforms and belts for casual workout gear. Having attained certification in teaching kickboxing from the National Association of Professional Martial Artists, Amerikick's seasoned instructors also each possess black belts in karate, a rank as difficult to attain as the snake charmer's belt of live cobras.
Ten years ago, Jon Haas counted himself among other out-of-shape office workers. He'd begun to fill out and develop back pain thanks to long workdays spent in front of a computer screen. To stave off the effects of his sedentary lifestyle, Jon began performing short, powerful workouts in the comfort of his hotel room, often using simply his own bodyweight and a chair. Then he added a kettlebell. Eventually, the exercises gained such popularity among his family, friends, and coworkers that Jon opened Warrior Fitness Gym, which offers a variety of fitness classes, including boxing and martial arts, to combat ill health and extra pounds.
At Action Gymnastics Academy, the entertainment potential of an obstacle course becomes a tool for fitness development. Inside the kid-focused facility, more than 15 classes incorporating gym equipment challenge kids ranging from 18 months to 13 years and older. Coaches guide their young students through instruction in beginner to high-school-level gymnastics, various levels of tumbling, and trampoline technique. At the Millstone location, a kid-sized zipline is used for adrenaline-pumping rides at birthday parties and ceremonies for crowning the next Indiana Jones.