Despite immigrating to North America, Mestre Curisco and Contra Mestre Lua Branca chose not to leave their native Brazil entirely behind them. The duo founded Capoeira Mal?s?a community-run, non-profit organization?as a way to share Brazilian cultural traditions with the Seattle community. One of these traditions is capoeira: the movement-based Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music, and dance. At the studio, students build strength, flexibility, while also honing their confidence and self-control during each class. Capoeira is only one of the center's offerings, though. It also features samba classes that introduce attendees to the Afro-Brazilian dance while accompanied by live music.
Fuerte means "strong" in Spanish, and if anyone knows the strength required to stay fit, it's Fuerte Fitness owner Adriana Medina. Having completed an impressive transformation herself, Adriana founded Fuerte as a way to reinvigorate a dedication to health and fitness in others.
A brightly lit, brightly colored facility, Fuerte separates itself from big-box gyms with its friendly, intimidation-free vibe. But make no mistake: the focus here is on fitness, as evidenced by the gym's army of cardio machines, weights, and cross-training equipment, including heavy bags and agility boxes. Fuerte also hosts a rotation of more than 10 fitness classes, plus other events, such as hiking trips, cooking classes, and outings at sporting events so members can get to know each other face-to-face instead of grunting their hobbies between every rep.
Kickboxing classes deliver a knee to the face of fat, burning up to 860 calories an hour with the high-energy striking moves of martial arts and boxing. All four limbs get in on the bag-bludgeoning action at iLoveKickboxing as each class provides a full-body workout that tones arm, leg, and tentacle muscles while tightening the body’s core and improving balance. Hitting the heavy bags won't skin your knuckles once you don the included boxing gloves, which also double as excellent spring-loaded props for re-creating Three Stooges gags. Class times and dates vary based on each location: Woodinville, Seattle, Gig Harbor, Puyallup and Lacey.
There's more than one way to defend yourself. Just ask Alpha Martial Arts' instructors, who include muay thai world champions Kru Alberto Ramirez and his wife, Ariana Ramirez, who has appeared on Oxygen's reality show Fight Girls. Kru Alberto and Ariana teach the adult Muay Thai kickboxing classes, while Chris Herman and Silas Ness teach the Kenpo Karate programs. These master fighters teach teens and adults an array of martial arts techniques, including the strikes of karate and muay thai, all while helping them shed pounds and tone muscles. Alpha's team also coordinates youth martial arts programs for ages 4?12.
A sign hangs over the entrance of MKG Martial Arts International: Leave your ego at the door. It’s the first indication of the group-minded, family-like camaraderie among the students and highly trained instructors, and it's a sentiment that holds true in each of the gym’s three areas of expertise—adult martial arts and kickboxing, cross-training fitness classes, and youth programs for tykes as young as 4. MKG's MAX10 Fitness & Boot Camp program challenges fitness-goers to reach new goals.
Known as MAX, the 4,500-square-foot studio's cross-training classes help students get into shape during boot-camp- and kickboxing-inspired workouts. Sessions, such as Bag Combat or MAX Strength, torch calories and tone muscles while keeping boredom at bay with continuously changing routines and punching bags that explode into butterflies every time they’re hit.
Karate West is one of the largest martial arts schools in the country. Inside the 9,000-square-foot Issaquah training facility or the Mercer Island branch, kids and adults learn classic karate and self-defense moves, while also developing self-respect and discipline for both themselves and one another. Certified instructors lead students through traditional belt programs designed for kids as young as three, as well a specialized programs such as a women's only course, combat hapkido course, and a weapons program where students learn how to properly wield a bo, cane, sword, and loaded seltzer bottle.