At Minorsan Self-Defense & Fitness, the team of instructors share their wealth of knowledge to equip students with real-world self-defense skills, but their classes also focus on fitness. They also branch out into dance-based Zumba, kickboxing, and BodyPump––a class that mingles weightlifting with upbeat music. Kids are welcome, too, with martial arts programs that instill them with leadership skills.
Since his first run-in with Brazilian jujitsu at age 7, Claudio França has been busy. Now a fifth-degree black belt, he's spent more than 30 years mentoring MMA competitors, winning multiple championships, and hosting the annual U.S. Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament in Santa Cruz. He also teaches classes at three eponymous dojos with the help of fellow black belts. Training sessions teach groups how to execute BJJ's signature ground-fighting techniques and instill in individuals the keys to becoming a part of the martial-arts community.
Claudio's classes mix advanced students with total beginners, enabling the new arrivals to learn from more than one person, while regulars hone their coaching chops. The environment is family friendly, as well: there are programs for kids as young as 4, youth classes, and both women-only and co-ed adult lessons.
Vital Body Therapy's studio makes every class feel special. Inside the spacious house that’s been turned into a boutique studio, natural sunlight streams onto the hardwood floors of the long room where yoga and core sessions are held. The intimate classroom space is limited to just 10 students, which allows the experienced instructors to focus on each participant. Vital Body Therapy also offers skincare, such as facials and waxing, along with bodywork, such as massage therapy and Rolfing.
Students walk out of Body in Motion just a little bit taller than when they came in. The studio’s classes—Pilates and Xtend Barre—serve to tone and lengthen muscles for a stronger, sleeker physique. Instructors teach two styles of Pilates: mat classes, which rely on gravity to turn bodies into their own weight machine. In apparatus classes, students perform moves with the famed Pilates tower adding an extra challenge, like solving a Rubik’s Cube while defending yourself against a bear attack. Both classes rely on precise, repetitive motions to tone the core and make the spine more pliable and resistant to injury. Similarly, Xtend Barre classes blend Pilates moves with cardio dance steps and sculpting exercises. All classes scale to accommodate and challenge students of all skill levels. For a completely customized workout, clients can also opt to enlist in personal training.
In the heart of Aptos Village, Joy of Movement Pilates & Gyrotonic Studio fosters physical and emotional health through personal Pilates sessions, mat classes, and machine-based workouts. As one of 100 Pilates Method Alliance Gold-Certified Pilates instructors worldwide, owner Jennifer Balboni leads the studio's team to utilize their unique backgrounds in dance, massage therapy, and yoga to motivate students as they execute total-body toning moves. Reformer classes feature a low 3:1 student-to-teacher ratio to ensure each reformer receives the attention they need. In addition to strengthening mind and body in tandem, the green-certified studio supports sustainable living with green practices such as recycling, efficient lighting, and water conservation.
When students arrive for class at Aptos Yoga, they’ll see standard mats and blocks, but they’ll also find props that might surprise them: blankets. That’s because the instructors adhere strictly to a therapeutic brand of yoga where blankets support posing pupils. The staff’s chief aim is to release deep tensions in the body's spinal muscles, and for total body relaxation along with mental clarity.