The expert instructors at Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy have dedicated themselves to teaching adults and children ancient styles of movements such as tai chi, kung fu, and Qigong. Through their classes, they help students master wielding a broadsword in wushu or finding inner tranquility with moving meditation.
Third-degree black belt and instructor Gary Quillen was once a regular 12-year-old boy. Today, he can leap into the air and perform a dazzling horizontal split kick. This feat requires immense athletic prowess. But that physical strength means nothing without the equally immense mental strength behind it. The importance of mind over muscle informs Gary's approach to teaching his Korean martial-arts and fitness classes. He has designed each of his classes to teach novice practitioners how to defend themselves with deft, powerful techniques, but also to develop their confidence, respect, and self-control in order to minimize the chance they'll ever need to.
Though popular for some time at most gyms, the typical boot-camp class rarely has an actual soldier leading the charge. Not so at 7 Fitness, where active and nonactive military personnel put participants through their paces using a results-oriented blend of plyometrics, body-weight resistance, and cardio exercises. Athletes supplement their workouts with kickboxing classes, yoga offerings, sports-specific training classes, and one-on-one personal-training sessions.
Grandmaster Dennis Tosten founded the first Amerikick in 1967 and has since taught several champion fighters, police officers, and everyday students karate and self-defense. Today, the lauded chain teaches fitness classes inspired by martial arts, including cardio kickboxing in six states. Each location upholds a curriculum that blends Chinese and Japanese martial-arts styles—including kenpo and tae kwon do—with modern self-defense strategies, further updating traditional practices by eschewing uniforms and belts for casual workout gear. Having attained certification in teaching kickboxing from the National Association of Professional Martial Artists, Amerikick's seasoned instructors also each possess black belts in karate, a rank as difficult to attain as the snake charmer's belt of live cobras.
Striving to instruct students not only in the martial arts, but also in valuable life lessons—such as discipline, respect, and focus—the instructors of Master Coleman's Lion Force Martial Arts welcome pupils as young as 4 years old to their classes. Kids can learn important self-defense skills during 30 and 40-minute karate classes, while those 17 or older can enroll in kickboxing classes to further develop under-the-table-shin-kicking skills.