Normally, any association with a guy nicknamed "The Axe Murderer" seems like a bad idea. But for the competitors at Wand Fight Team, that couldn't be further from the truth. Having received the gruesome nickname for his aggressive style in the octagon, UFC legend Wanderlei Silva now takes a more passive approach to helping others earn macabre monikers of their own at his training facility in Las Vegas. Here, martial arts programs in Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling, and boxing prepare both adults and kids for success inside and outside of the ring.
Amilcar "Mica" Cipili, head instructor of Gracie Jiu Jitsu Las Vegas, knows what works for self defense and when placed in a real life fight. Raised in southern Brazil, Mica was already mastering the martial arts of kung fu, capoeira, and judo until he saw a Brazilian jiu-jitsu match that changed his life. Mica became obsessed with the "gentle art," which eschews brute force for more effective strategies of balance, leverage, and debate skills to use mid-grapple. Mica soon perfected the grips, flips, and submissive holds of jiu-jitsu with help from the Machado brothers–progeny of jiu-jitsu pioneer George Gracie. With his new-found fighting savvy, Mica earned a third-degree black belt, a mantle-busting array of over 90 champion titles, and even trained MMA greats such as UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta. At his Gracie Jiu Jitsu Las Vegas institute, Mica trains fighters of all levels in classes six days a week. In addition to Brazilan jiu-jitsu and judo for adults and kids, the training center features courses in judo, MMA, wrestling, and boxing.
In more than 25 years of devotion to martial arts, Nick D. Blomgren has trained top kickboxers and MMA contenders. At One Kick's Gym, he and his staff bring their experience to children and adults of all experience levels, specializing in classes for kids aged 8–12. Lessons cover techniques and conditioning as well as life skills such as self-confidence and discipline.
The fitness instructors, personal trainers, and nutritionists at ClubSport wield the foundations of total-body wellness: detailed knowledge and cutting-edge equipment. Group classes such as cardio kickboxing, cycling, and circuit training showcase routines for all fitness levels, seven days a week. Personal-training sessions, meanwhile, bring help exercisers develop their own fitness plans and face down the imaginary knight that guards every piece of weight-training equipment.
ClubSport also transforms bodies outside the fitness studio and weight room. A self-described resort-style aquatic center features several lap and exercise pools where swimmers can fine-tune their breaststrokes and favorite shark calls. At an on-site spa, massage therapists ease muscle tension with modalities ranging from hot stone and prenatal to trigger point and reflexology.
Shine Alternative Fitness helps all types of fitness goers achieve health goals. Named one of the 20 “Coolest Clubs in America” in Shape magazine’s 2013 Gym Awards, the center’s founders are both Cirque du Soleil veterans: Dima Shine, a solo artist in Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity, and Russ Petroni, Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas production manager.
The duo’s passion for performance arts shines through in each of their classes. In their Aerial Arts courses, for example, students develop upper body, core, and grip strength while wrapped in silks that hang from the ceiling. Meanwhile, antigravity classes have students striking balancing poses while suspended in the air by silk hammocks. To round out their coursework, the team also offers an array of more traditional gym classes, from boxing sessions to Zumba, ballet, and hip-hop.
Inside their boxing gym, the trainers of Big Cat Boxing & Fitness lead exercisers through workouts that include bag work, circuits, and agility drills. Clients looking to lose weight fast can jump into the 14-day advanced training program, and those looking to build strength can harden physiques through suspension-training workouts, which use the exercisers' own body weight.