At Kempo Fitness, Glen Bartlett and his staff help students of all ages build confidence and lean muscle through martial arts. The studio's flagship program, Kempo karate, draws from nearly 500 years of tradition and focuses on a graceful combination of circular and linear movements. Other classes merely use martial arts as a jumping-off point. Cardio kickboxing, for example, distills the discipline's rapid-fire punches and kicks into a workout that's even more challenging than fitting boxing gloves on your feet.
It's hard to top the resume of AmeriKick Martial Arts sensei Bob Leiker. A six-time NBL World Champion, he has defeated so many notable opponents that he was inducted into the Legends Hall of Fame. As if that weren't enough, he created a fighting style of his own called sen shu do ryu—a fusion of his knowledge of jiu jitsu, karate-do, tae kwon do, okinawan go ju ryu, and american kickboxing. Outside of the ring, he has served as a governor's appointee to the Kansas Sentencing Commission and the official martial arts instructor for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Still, Bob prefers to talk about his students' successes. AmeriKick's martial arts classes teach not only karate techniques and kickboxing maneuvers to students of all ages and fitness levels, but also self-confidence and the drive to improve oneself. In youth karate classes, students learn to de-escalate potentially hazardous situations, and adult karate sessions teach participants to take defensive action against would-be attackers. Through these lessons, students learn to apply the focus they use in the ring to better themselves outside of it, from tackling personal challenges to staring down textbooks until they turn their own pages.
TMAFitness offers kids and adults traditional karate, kickboxing, boot-camp, and martial-arts classes in a welcoming setting. At this functional studio, certified instructors teach discipline and self-respect while helping their clients build self-confidence. Try a martial-arts class to learn sparring and self-defense moves that can protect against an attack, or enroll children in Karate Kids, a belt program that burns off excess energy and keeps bullies at bay. You can also punch and kick heavy bags in kickboxing classes, or burn fat and build muscle in a boot-camp session.
The martial-arts masters at AKKA Karate USA specialize in kenpo karate, a unique form that builds muscle tone and reflexes in order to use the body’s natural weapons—hands and feet—for self-defense. In addition to kenpo, they also lead classes focused on MMA, tai chi, and weapons training. Often, AKKA holds special events such as tournaments and sparring seminars. In addition to learning self-defense techniques, students also build valuable life skills such as an appreciation for fitness, discipline, and self-confidence.
Rifkin Professional Karate Center gives its pupils options. The basis of its curriculum is a blend of karate, tae kwon do, kickboxing, and aikido, which allows students to use a range of kicking, blocking, and strength-maneuvering techniques to burn calories and tone the body. The end result is an attempt to help students lose weight and get into the best shape of their lives. The center's founder is JD Rifkin, a black belt master instructor with 26 years of experience studying, teaching, and fighting. His talents have extended to choreographed stunt work and circuit fighting, but it was his passion for teaching that led him to open his martial-arts studio. Here, students young and old can brush up their skills in a number of disciplines.
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.