Driven by a desire to share the life-changing potential of martial arts, Dean Konley founded American Dojo in 1994. But his journey to that point wasn’t easy. As a child, Konley struggled with dyslexia, a condition that followed him into adolescence. Weighed down by bullying and constant frustration, he resorted to destructive behavior. Then, Konley found martial arts. Practicing martial arts gave Konley an outlet, and it quickly became a source of the success, discipline, and self-confidence he’d lacked in other areas of life. Konley earned his first black belt in 1986 and hasn’t quit progressing since.
Today, alongside his wife, Virginia, and a staff of highly trained instructors, Konley heads two American Dojo locations. Both of Konley’s facilities are family-oriented, and both offer classes for students as young as 4. Beyond empowering its members through goal-oriented lessons and programs, American Dojo opens its doors for birthday parties, too, allowing youngsters to burn off energy in a more positive manner than teaching the dog how to count cards at the casino.
Self-Confidence and Self-Discipline -- Focus and Fitness – Safety and Self-Defense
Black Belt Leadership Academy's program promotes the development of physical and mental qualities that lead to success in the karate academy, at home, at school, and in the workplace.
At four locations around the Wisconsin area, Neutral Ground Martial Arts & Fitness introduces kids and adults to disciplines such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, mixed martial arts, and kickboxing. In addition to helping students get into peak physical condition, the classes are great for those who want to learn self-defense skills, build self-confidence, or someday compete in wrestling or grappling competitions. Of course, martial arts isn't the only focus here: students who want to get in shape in a more traditional way can attend one of Neutral Ground's functional fitness classes, which rely on foundational movements such as running, jumping, climbing, crawling, and jitterbugging, and also incorporate tools such as kettlebells, sledgehammers, and ropes.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Patrick Delgado has fought more than 20 MMA, kickboxing, and boxing matches throughout his pro and amateur careers. Today, however, he and his team at Fearless MMA focus on the next generation of fighters. Their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing, and Tae Kwon Do programs emphasize mental skills as much as physical ones, such as being able to lift a 25-pound championship belt. Exercisers who want a more traditional workout can sign up for one of the studio's strength and conditioning classes.
The Little Gym of Gurnee, a branch of the nationwide network of Little Gyms, fosters educational wonderment, physical development, and self-confidence in children aged four months to 12 years old through engaging, interactive classes. Trained instructors lead the classes and impart motor skills, language development, and leadership skills through karate and dance classes, as well as brain boost activities—all with the goal of encouraging age-appropriate development in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.
Spawned by gung mao kung fu, a form of martial arts developed in 19th-century Okinawa, Gangi kung fu arose in 1985 thanks to Master Soshihan Joe Gangi. He held a black belt in gung mao kung fu, goju karate, jujitsu, and many other forms of martial arts. So he combined ancient and modern components of MMA to create something new: Gangi kung fu. The method married yoga-inspired conditioning moves and meditation with sparring. At Gangi Martial Arts & Fitness, Master Gangi and his assistant teachers continue to promote the unique practice through their martial-arts classes.