In 1986, brothers and lifelong martial artists Jeff and Jade Hockman began practicing Songahm tae kwon do, a well-rounded martial art that ranks among the world's most popular styles. After years of disciplined physical and mental training, they have earned the distinction of sixth-degree master instructors of the craft and have won multiple medals at the ATA World Championships. Today, they pass on their knowledge at four Missouri dojos that offer training for both adults and children. Numerous pupils have become masters under the Hockmans' training, including more than 500 black belts and numerous state champions.
Pro Fitness is a sprawling athletic facility, with rows of professional exercise equipment, racks of free weights, and a private cardio theater. Within workout studios, certified trainers lead an array of group fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, and boot camp. The instructors also offer personal-training sessions, tailoring workouts to accommodate each client's unique abilities and goals.
Heart of America Athletic Training Center caters to guests of all ages with all manners of fitness goals, offering cardio equipment, weight machines, and free weights as well as a 22-foot boxing ring and a 30-foot MMA cage. Classes for adults cover MMA, yoga, and self-defense, and kids' classes include tae kwon do, wrestling, and MMA.
A joint venture between a professional boxer and a team of successful kickboxing-equipment tycoons, TITLE Boxing Club maintains a network of dozens of studios spread across more than 20 states, winning over a devoted clientele with its invigorating and engaging boxing- and kickboxing-themed classes. Each workout uses the heart-healthy exercise of cardio training to satisfy people’s innate desire to punch and kick something other than a broken jukebox. Participants build lithe, strong muscle tissue by delivering powerful blows to punching bags, and build flexibility and agility by practicing roundhouse kicks and hooks. Students can build their core strength and endurance with medicine balls and burpees, enlist a qualified personal trainer to practice their newfound skills in the ring, or just torch calories during intense full-body Power Hour workouts.
At Title Boxing Club, professional boxers, kickboxers, and mixed martial artists may lead the classes, but their goal is fitness, not fighting. They push patrons to strengthen their bodies from head to toe during one-hour sessions, instructing them to pummel 100-pound bags with jabs, hooks, and roundhouse kicks. They encourage members to hit the bags as hard or soft as they like and to move at their own pace, so the classes accessible to all fitness levels. During one-on-one training sessions, trainers use custom routines of weightlifting, cardio, and sparring to show students how to float like a butterfly and sting like a venomous butterfly. They also develop custom diet plans and exercise routines to help clients meet their fitness goals.
Academy of Fighting Arts instructor and 5th-degree black-belt Clinton Murphy can shatter several objects with his bare hands, from coconuts to concrete blocks. It's a skill known as "breaking," and Murphy claims that it's just as mental as it is physical. This and other martial-arts skills have led to appearances on ESPN2, The Late Show with David Letterman, and the Discovery Channel. At Academy of Fighting Arts, he teaches his students how to hone their own mental focus and martial-arts techniques, emphasizing good form and discipline over brute strength—just as he does when he's preparing to break 14 slabs of concrete in a stack.
When teaching a class, Murphy's martial arts style of choice is American-Filipino Kun Tao. This mix of pressure-point strikes, grappling, and joint-lock throws is ideal for close-quarters fighting. Murphy covers these maneuvers as well as escrima, or stick-fighting, in his adult sessions, whereas kids' classes focus more on teamwork and basic drills. He also hosts four-week self-defense seminars for women, which demonstrate how to effectively escape and subdue an assailant.