At his two gyms in Bloomingdale and Rockford, Elite Defense Systems' chief instructor Matt Numrich leads practical, defense-oriented classes focused on jeet kune do, the hybrid martial art and philosophical system developed in 1965 by Bruce Lee. Jeet kune do focuses on efficiency and personal development, guiding students through a mixture of more than two dozen arts.
Though Elite Defense Systems offers one-on-one training, group lessons for men, women, and children are recommended for their sense of community, their varied sparring partners, and their chances for students to combine into a five-piece battle robot. Including Matt, the gyms have a staff of only three instructors and three assistants, allowing for a closer student-teacher relationship.
No Joke Mixed Martial Arts coaches children's mixed martial arts classes that allow kids to improve their goal setting, concentration, confidence and self defense skills, and increase responsibility and self-discipline. For adults, open sparring opportunities allow fighters to hone their skills in a safe, controlled environment. Self-defense classes provide top-notch instruction to protect both kids and adults.
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.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Patrick Delgado has fought more than 20 MMA, kickboxing, and boxing matches throughout his pro and amateur careers. Today, however, he and his team at Fearless MMA focus on the next generation of fighters. Their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing, and Tae Kwon Do programs emphasize mental skills as much as physical ones, such as being able to lift a 25-pound championship belt. Exercisers who want a more traditional workout can sign up for one of the studio's strength and conditioning classes.
The instructors at United Elite MMA preach a well-rounded approach to physical and mental fitness. Inside their 5,000-square-foot facility, pupils of all ages learn MMA, Brazilian jujitsu, wrestling, and boxing in a manner that simultaneously builds skills for strength training, conditioning, and self-defense. Participants benefit from the use of a full-size MMA cage, a full-size boxing ring, and 1,500 square feet of mats.
Young Masters Martial Arts and Fitness Studio splits its studio space into halves that focus on martial arts and fitness techniques. The martial-arts studio is led by three master instructors trained in tae kwon do, karate, judo, and qigong. The fitness studio whips bodies into shape with kettlebells, ropes, and TRX suspension training. Those who prefer to boost their inner body and spirit may enlist in Tai Chi classes, an ancient Chinese discipline that incorporates meditation and deep breathing into a series of continuous exercises. During sessions, instructors promote Tai Chi's therapeutic benefits, which includes reducing stress, promoting balance and flexibility, or easing pain.