In his tae kwon do classes, former world welterweight kickboxing champion Eric Melton covers techniques from basic stances and blocks to black-belt sparring. In another room, members of the competitive gymnastics team hone their flips and flexibility in year-round preparation for bouts against rival gyms. The competitive streak continues on in the cheerleading team, with whom decorated cheer directors harness national-title experience to perfect the squad's choreography and teamwork.
Along with classes with a competitive bent, the Mpact staff hosts sessions for kids who just want to try out new activities and have fun such a Nerf Wars where kids engage in friendly nerf football battles or open gym sessions. A parent-and-child gymnastics class introduces youngsters to obstacle courses and trampolines, and extreme tumbling's foam pits and padded mats train students of all skill levels to jump and flip more fearlessly than a blindfolded dolphin in a shark tank. For performing pupils, Mpact also teaches aerial-acrobatics classes and Demo Team programs, where kids learn how to deftly handle martial-arts weapons, including nunchaku and staffs.
Since opening Nutrition World in 1979, founder Ed Jones has fostered healthy mastication with an expansive inventory of natural, organic, and gluten-free foodstuffs. As shoppers peruse the aisles, nutrition-savvy store clerks stand by to answer inquiries and suggest healthy alternatives to junk food such as chips or notoriously indulgent Cracker Jack prizes. Shelves sport boxes of DeBoles gluten-free pasta ($3.89), and refrigerators eschew lactose with cartons of sunflower, coconut, hemp, and almond milk ($2.99+). Shoppers can scarf down the protein of an OhYeah! chocolate-caramel bar ($2.49) or work on their Popeye impressions by downing Amy's spinach pizza ($7.99).
The instructors at Gracie Barra Murfreesboro specialize in intense Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instruction during detailed classes. Sessions cover the martial art’s style of facing opponents regardless of size, with emphasis on takedowns, submissions, and grappling rather than kicks and strikes. Classes also cover aspects of fitness and competition, as well as other martial-arts styles, such as judo and muay thai kickboxing.
At O'Riley Karate Centers, internationally licensed and certified instructors teach students wado-ryu karate, developed on mainland Japan and known as "the way of peace." At the award-winning dojo, students of all abilities and experience levels will improve their fitness, confidence, and coordination.
When three of your immediate family members are some of the world's best fighters, chances are that you're destined for greatness. Carlos Gracie, Jr. spent his formative years watching and learning from the men who are credited with founding the art of Brazilian jujitsu: his father, Carlos Gracie, Sr.; his uncle, Hélio; and his older brother, Rolls. They borrowed from a fighting style that originally evolved in India, practiced by Buddhist monks as a means to restrain opponents without having to injure them. The "gentle art," as the monks called it, focuses on redirecting an opponent's momentum, grappling them to the ground, and employing powerful joint locks to arrest their motion and prevent them from escaping or dancing the robot. The family practiced and polished this reinvented technique at the Teresópolis House, an expansive ranch in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro where martial artists honed their craft in a community that necessitated getting along, sharing, and learning from one another.
Carlos Jr. drew on these lessons when he founded the first Gracie Barra school in 1986. The school, which eventually expanded to more than 300 locations worldwide, focuses on maintaining the signature Gracie Barra technique while allowing individual teachers to make the most of their own talents. Much more than a fighting style, Brazilian jujitsu emphasizes discipline and respect for others and oneself, and students at Gracie Barra will quickly learn the rules of etiquette that come standard in every classroom.