With one foot planted in traditional martial-arts pedagogy and the other roundhouse-kicking modern sports science, Tiger Rock Taekwondo Academy schools limbs with fast-paced, total-body fitness classes. The health-and-fitness program consists of YogaFit and Kisado, which blends martial arts, yoga, and nutritional counseling to build up the whole body and tone each strand of hair on the head. Martial arts classes for adults and kids cover counter aggressive forms such as taekwondo and hanmudo, a style based on grappling and takedowns.
Between fists whooshing through the air and feet stomping on the ground, SCS Martial Arts and Fitness can be a pretty noisy place. Under the tutelage of sensei like Sam Boyer, students master both the traditional forms of karate and modern methods of mixing martial arts. They learn strikes and kicks, grappling techniques borrowed from jiu-jitsu, and fitness routines based on fighters' workouts. Teachers maintain a sense of fun throughout the workouts, especially in kids' classes, which focus as much on character-building and confidence-boosting as they zero in on self defense techniques.
It's difficult to tell whether Master Thomas Gordon or Master Gregory Bledsoe would win in a fight. That's because the two martial-arts instructors have worked on the same team for more than a decade. In that time, they've developed a teaching style that has caught the attention of the local and national press.
All the attention is warranted, because Masters Gordon and Bledsoe aren't just effective instructors—they're avid students of their craft. Gordon, for example, has attended countless tae kwon do seminars and camps, and he can articulately speak about the discipline's history as well as flawlessly demonstrate its self-defense techniques. Both instructors are also acutely aware of the real-life applications of tae kwon do and hapkido. Plenty of police officers have attended their classes looking to get a leg up on the next criminal, and kids and teens use their newly acquired moves to defend against bullies or rip up impossible math tests.
Boasting the state's only affiliate member of the world-renowned Pedro Sauer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu of Alabama helps students ages 5 and older boost self-confidence and athletic prowess while toning muscles and honing self-discipline. Under the watchful eye of brown belt and 15-year martial-arts veteran Patrick Langan, children or their adult copycats spend three introductory classes getting acquainted with the self-defense-based art of jiu-jitsu. Focusing on strategy and leverage rather than brute strength, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu teaches students how to skillfully grapple opponents to the ground instead of calmly discussing your differences over a cup of tea. Both studios offer 90-minute classes for adults, as well as afternoon children’s sessions that range from 30 to 60 minutes. Check out the complete schedules for Midtown and West Mobile for all times.
Over 150 students of ATA Martial Arts have attained their black belts since Philip Hayes first opened the club in 1998. As a fifth-degree black belt with multiple certifications, Philip knows that it takes discipline and commitment to excel at the sport, not just carrying around a backpack full of sports drinks. Under his leadership, his instructors teach classes to kids, teens, and adults. In these classes, students condition not only their bodies, but also their minds as they learn to respect themselves and others as part of the ancient sport.