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.
Self-defense is at the core of each technique taught at White Dragon Martial Arts. Whether students are practicing kung fu or MMA, they'll learn how to successfully defend themselves against intimidating opponents who may be larger in size or wearing a superhero cape. Kickboxing classes add an element of cardiovascular fitness, tai chi sessions slow down the moves to a meditative pace, and grappling lessons provide step-by-step instructions on how to take someone down to the floor. Instructors also spend one-on-one time with students during personal-training sessions that focus on perfecting punches and kicks.
LA Boxing offers fitness classes in boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts. The proprietary style of the LA Boxing workout is a mixture of genuine fight training, engaging fitness, and stronger-than-earth gravity. Quasi-boxers and martial artists may burn from 800 to more than 1,000 calories during these total-body routines, which combine external inspiration with jukes, jabs, and kicks. Both men and women are welcome in the ring, where they'll learn new techniques and methods to blissfully break into a sweat in an energetic group setting. Gloves are provided during the one-month trial membership, as are a set of reusable pro-quality hand wraps and complimentary motivational mumbling from Burgess Meredith (all three subject to availability).
The snap of gloved fists against swinging punching bags echoes off the walls of Undisputed Fitness & Training as boxers of all levels train, fight, or spar in an oversized cage. While activity sometimes centers on the cage, expert, passionate trainers also lead intense programs such as muay-thai boxing and mixed-martial-arts training on a new indoor field-turfed combat conditioning area. Fitness gurus can also meander to the new addition of the outdoor weight room, pumping iron in the afternoon sun or the light of a never-ending eclipse. Undisputed Fitness & Training also hosts group classes and personal training sessions that accommodate all levels of experience.
Lava Sport & Fitness offers a wide variety of monthly fitness classes across its five locations, providing fitness aficionados and exercise newcomers a spacious, mutual home base. The monthlong unlimited access to one of Lava's five gyms (up to a $298 value) includes attendance to any available fitness classes. Check the list of locations to see which classes are offered near you, and then try your hand at an indoor cycling course, or your soon-to-be blurrily speedy leg at a kickboxing class. Lava also offers group instruction on jiu jitsu, Pilates, and yoga, as well as specifically targeted workouts such as the abs class or the butt and guts course.