The grappling fighting style known as jujitsu first came to Brazil in 1914 stored in the hands and mind of Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese immigrant and master of the art. He only stayed a year, but it was enough time to plant the seeds for a new jujitsu academy in Brazil. One of the first students at that academy was Hélio Gracie.
Hélio absorbed the fighting style quickly, adapting many of the techniques to suit his small frame. He discovered methods of leverage that allowed him to execute joint locks, choke holds, and takedowns on much larger opponents, forming the core of his new Gracie jujitsu method. Ultimately, Hélio's son Royce brought the fighting style to America, famously winning UFC 1, 2, and 4 by defeating opponents many times his own size. Suddenly, Americans lined up to learn this newly unveiled Brazilian fighting style, demonstrating their eagerness by folding themselves inside a box and shipping themselves south.
Relson Gracie, Hélio's second oldest son, chose to be an ambassador of his family's fighting style. He was already teaching abroad when his little brother Royce skyrocketed Brazilian jujitsu to popularity. He founded his first school under the name Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Hawaii, and as the art became popular, he opened new branches of his academy all across the United States. Today, he visits more than 40 academies and associations, sharing his knowledge with thousands of students. In his absence, he leaves instructors whom he personally trained to oversee the education of aspiring fighters.
Life Martial Arts, which is affiliated with Fight Sports, stresses self-confidence and self-defense in martial-arts classes for all ages. Adult classes can cover Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and muay thai, building fundamentals in some of the most popular mixed-martial-arts styles. Classes for children aged 5?12 cover the basics of karate and jujitsu.
The United States Krav Maga Association–certified instructors at Force 3 believe “you don’t have to be a fighter to train like one.” The staff, which boasts plenty of real-world experience—including a jiu-jitsu world champion and a former bodyguard to Europe's royals—imparts the arts of krav maga, muay thai, and MMA to students of all experience and fitness levels. In a facility furnished with mats, heavy bags, and grappling dummies that never say "uncle," students learn self-defense concepts that could one day save their lives, or the lives of their loved ones, while also reaping the cardiovascular and core-strengthening benefits of intense physical training.
Asbury Arts Center owner Jeanne Glogowski taps experience on both sides of the curtain—boasting bachelor's and master's degrees in dance—to oversee an eclectic array of dance classes for children and adults of all experience levels. Instructors gather budding dancers, fitness-minded patrons, and experienced shimmiers in practice rooms lined with mirrors to ensure both students and teachers can keep an eye out for proper form during dance, yoga, and martial-arts classes. Hammier classes include lessons in performing arts and music, giving patrons the opportunity to test their performing chops under the same level of personalized attention they enjoy in the studio’s fitness classes and during IRS audits.
With locations spanning the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, iLoveKickboxing.com has trimmed the waistlines of thousands of members while bolstering their confidence levels with engaging and varied total-body workouts. The program blends kickboxing techniques into a fat-burning, muscle-toning, and endurance-enhancing regimen. Limbs warm up with a quick jog before taking down imaginary opponents with a set of practice kicks and punches to drive home proper technique. The pummeling then switches to the one of many freestanding heavy bags, and incorporates ducking and weaving to boost heart rates. Teamwork drills help members tone up while cultivating camaraderie, which could lead to a partnership inspiring future buddy-cop-movie sensations.
With its boxing ring, heavy bags, and padded floors, First Coast Full Contact looks like a traditional boxing gym. However, it strays from tradition with the family-oriented environment the trainers and students bring to the space. They hold classes in kickboxing, wrestling, boxing, and marital arts for students aged 5 and older. With an emphasis on fitness as well as self-defense, many classes burn up to 800 calories per session. To complement the workouts classes offer, the gym is furnished with a variety of exercise machines and a fully equipped weight room.