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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.

477 Old Hook Road
Emerson,
NJ
US

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.

1171 Madison Ave
Paterson,
NJ
US

"We give kids the confidence to protect themselves." These eight words sum up the motto for MartialArtsProgramsforkids.com as well as the mission of their curriculum. At a wealth of locations along the East Coast, youngsters learn confidence, discipline, and respect as they boost skills in a variety of disciplines, including jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. The skills learned in these lessons can also help them defend themselves in the face of bullies and family cats that won't share the remote control.

347 East Railway Avenue
Paterson,
NJ
US

Kids Party Play & Tumble's open play gym ushers in a new era of rainy day activities. Ideal for children between the ages of 1 and 7, the neon color-accented facility has amenities that include six bouncers, gymnastics equipment, learning center, doll houses, grocery store, music area, kitchen, and athletic area with basketball and soccer. Parents are welcome to play with their children for as long as they want, even if the parents are really bouncer-enthusiasts themselves at heart.

465 Old Hook Rd.
Emerson,
NJ
US

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.

Elite Black Belt Academy
Patterson,
NJ
US