When sensei Thomas Torpey threw his first kick 20 years ago, it was really the first step to becoming head instructor of Team Bullshark’s two martial arts schools. He began studying shotokan karate, but quickly expanded his repertoire into the realm of mixed martial arts, learning various other forms of striking and grappling. He found particular clarity in the psychological side of martial arts, and now teaches students not just exercise methods and self-defense, but also the ability to hone attitude, behavior, character, and x-ray vision.
Professor Erick Tavares—a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiujitsu—and his protégé Sensei Marcus also help students in Sensei Torpey’s classes. With all the classes that the schools offer, students can construct a comprehensive mixed martial arts curriculum that will prepare them to strike, grapple, and blend smoothies with a flurry of punches.
Kickboxing.com represents a conglomeration of schools from all around the world, including locations in America, Japan, Singapore, and the Dominican Republic. They focus on high-quality training from different disciplines of martial arts that range from kenpo karate to capoeira and taekwondo. Each school combines the art of kicking with the basis of Western boxing to create devastating combinations that use every limb.
UFC Gym is not a standard fitness center playing dress-up as a boxing studio—its pugilists hit away at 150-pound punching bags while wearing 16-ounce gloves and bobbing and weaving on high-impact floors, and don't have to share space with dance-aerobics classes—but neither is it the dank boxing gym of yesteryear. Alongside the high-quality boxing equipment in the brightly lit gym are free weights and cardio and strength machines to mold a well-rounded fighter. In addition to boxing, trainers, most of whom have amateur or professional fighting experience, teach muay thai kickboxing, mixed martial arts, kids' self-defense classes, and personal training.
Fit Female is more than a gym. It's a culture of empowerment that encourages women of all ages to nourish their bodies, minds, and spirit animals through exercise. As a workout facility, Fit Female features more than 40 cardio machines and a recently renovated space where instructors host fitness classes in yoga, spinning, Pilates, and Zumba. Personal-training sessions offer customized workout plans, and amenities such as free childcare, tanning, and an indoor salt-water pool take away any lingering excuses.
Jujitsu champion Jay Hayes is personally invested in the education of his students, meeting with each new client to answer questions, asses expectations, and help set goals. At NJ United Mixed Martial Arts, Jay and his staff of seasoned fighters impart the finer points of Brazilian jujitsu, muay thai, and submission wresting to students of all skill levels. All of the classes are intense and can help students build confidence, discipline, and responsibility
At CKO Kickboxing, combatants wage one-hour battles against an army of heavy bags. The weighted punching bags dangle in two long rows as participants unleash flurries of kicks, punches, knees, and elbows upon them until they agree to personally train them. CKO's instructors emphasize the fitness aspects of kickboxing over a traditional martial-arts education, peppering sessions of punches and kicks with plyometrics and cross training to sculpt and strengthen the entire body. Students of all skill levels are welcome in each class, and beginners are encouraged to progress at their own pace.