Nowadays, the term “martial arts” conjures up images of flashy Hollywood kicks, championship trophies, and prismatic collections of ranked belts. Many often forget, however, that the martial arts are tools for self-defense. The instructors at McKenzie Martial Arts eschew the glamour and instead focus on teaching students how to protect themselves, encouraging participation from the entire family. They lead kids, teens, and adults through a range of disciplines, including Bruce Lee’s street-level jeet kune do, Gracie jujitsu, and weapon-centric Filipino kali and escrima. During each lesson, they’ll equip students with gloves and padded weapons and let them put their newfound skills to use in a ring or mat-covered training room. Family members, meanwhile, can watch their kin square off by meditating to the point of omnipresence or simply nabbing a spot in the comfortable viewing area.
After training at the feet of Mike Lee Kanarek—founder of the HaganaH self-defense program named for the military based organization—Colin and Kaz Rhoads decided to spread the gospel of their teacher’s real-world fighting system. Adapted from Israeli military training, it strips confrontations down to their key elements and then trains students to decisively act to disarm their attackers. Instructors teach students to attack an opponent’s weak points while defending themselves, and they employ repetition to build pupils' instinctive responses and take-no-prisoner tickling skills. As certified personal trainers in their own right, Colin and Kaz also integrate elements of circuit and strength training into their workouts, blending combat sessions with TRX, kettlebells, and high-impact conditioning to produce a well-rounded warrior.