Winner of more than 100 mixed-martial-arts competitions, Tiger Schulmann shares his pride and love for fighting and self-defense with both adults and children in gyms across five states. From first-time grapplers to expert muay thai fighters, students of all fitness and experience levels are welcome to dive into a class at Schulmann’s. At more than 47 locations, adults can take classes in kickboxing, MMA, and jujitsu—the last of which instills students with the skill and confidence to take down opponents of any size, strength, or telekinetic ability. Kids, meanwhile, can learn martial arts for fun, or gain useful experience in bully prevention; the kids’ classes help victims immediately identify and safely diffuse situations when pitted against an aggressor.
At Dancing on the Edge NJ, instructors Ms. Sandra and Ms. Maria Teresa—who have trained at renowned institutions such as the Dominican National Ballet Company and the Joffrey Ballet—lead dance classes for students of all abilities. They specialize in ballet, which they believe is the foundation for every dance form with its formalized and precise movements. They also specialize in tap dance and jazz dance, an energetic and rhythmic technique featuring fancy footwork and improvisation.
Every day at Action Film Academy, students get in all-out brawls filled with headbutts, roundhouse punches, and sometimes bodies tossed through plate-glass windows. Don't worry, though. They don't get injured, and they're not even mad at each other. They're just doing classwork designed to prepare students for roles in action movies as fighters and stunt doubles.
The preparation process is rigorous and thorough. The academy's instructors, headed by veteran martial artist and stunt coordinator Michael DePasquale Jr., cover a wide swathe of topics to ensure their students stay safe and convincing in the midst of a movie melee. Their courses cover fight choreography, body reactions, and lessons on head snaps, which help make a phantom punch to the face or a mean-spirited insult land with real impact.
Aikido is the "loving protection of all beings," in the words of Morihei Ueshiba, who created the martial-arts style. Although it sometimes incorporates wooden weapons, at its heart, aikido seeks to act as a replacement for violence. Greg O'Connor, founder and chief instructor at Aikido Centers of New Jersey, brings Ueshiba's tenets to his students, who have included children and seniors, as well as members of the New Jersey State Police, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Secret Service. O'Connor and more than 40 other instructors teach students self-defense tactics that redirect attacks, as well as more advanced methods that include wooden sword and staff training and aikido's dramatic falls and rolls.