Kempo’s movement patterns may look beautiful—fluid, swooping kicks, graceful evasions, smooth takedowns—but underneath the beauty lies a tradition nearly 2,000 years old. Since 1968, the instructors at United Studios of Self Defense have armed students with these techniques, leading classes where participants of all ages and skill levels soak up fighting skill while galvanizing self-confidence.
But before they can share their tactics and Mortal Kombat cheat codes, the instructors themselves must be trained. Each instructor who cinches the black belt around their waist has graduated with honors from the Studio’s own rigorous training academy. The training doesn’t stop there; every week they meet with the founder himself, 10th-degree black belt Charles Mattera, who refines their strategies and instills them with advanced techniques.
At the Yoga Factory, anti-gravity yoga reigns. Practitioners safely settle into silks suspended from the ceiling, then twist and spin through a series of asanas. Besides strengthening core muscles, the aerial practice can ease joint pain, reduce backaches, increase flexibility, and help students prepare for upcoming auditions to be Tinker Bell's stunt double.
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Navy SEAL veteran and MMA coach Brian Sargent had a vision of a cutting-edge mixed-martial-arts facility. He knew what equipment was needed, but it was not until 2007?when he teamed with Joe Mannino, a 30-year owner and operator of a health club?that the nitty-gritty details fell into place. With Mannino?s newly envisioned facility and Sargent?s training know-how, the two built Victory MMA and Fitness, bringing on a staff of top-notch trainers to teach a burgeoning clientele of professional MMA fighters.
The sounds of pumping hearts and fists swooshing through the air that Brian and Joe love to hear can be sensed between the glass walls and doors that divide the 22,000-square-foot facility into eight training areas, and there?s room left over for a retail shop and ringside caf?. A 20-foot mixed-martial-arts cage and 7,000 square feet of mats host aspiring pugilists as they train their wrists and fists among a forest of hanging punching bags, while students in Jiu Jitsu and MMA classes learn the practical art of self defense. The nearby cardio and weightlifting areas are the metaphorical psychologist?s couch upon which personal trainers condition their clients, and a cordoned-off yoga studio breaks the black-and-red patterning of the gym with bright white walls and a pale hardwood floor.
Students should bring: A bottle of water and a mat if possible
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: No
Parking: Parking lot
In the long and storied history of jiu-jitsu, only six men have won two titles in the Absolute Division?the division that is open to any and all weights. Alexandre Ribeiro, co-founder of University of Jiu Jitsu, happens to be one of those six men. A six-time World Jiu Jitsu Champion, "Xande" received his black belt from his equally decorated brother, Saulo, who co-founded the school and wrote the widely acclaimed training manual Jiu-Jitsu University.
Alongside a roster of talented instructors, the Ribeiro brothers share their immeasurable wisdom at the University during a wide array of classes. They're especially well-versed in beginner, bully-proof, and self-defense tactics. Some classes are even designed for kids as young as 5, the age when most children begin submitting their applications to become a superhero.
Jiai Aikido Martial Arts & San Diego Systema offers martial arts training for all levels and ages. Head Instructors Steven Katz Sensei and Jeff Sodeman Sensei specialize in Aikido, a style of Japanese martial arts that focuses on defense rather than aggression. The martial arts school also hosts a Certified Russian Martial Art Instructor for Systema that compliments aikido training.