Though its name may conjure fantasies about sprinting down crowded streets or bench-pressing buses stalled in traffic, Urban Active Fitness grants its members abundant space in which to spread out and follow their workout proclivities. At dozens of locations across the Midwest and South, members can sculpt their bodies in whichever manner they choose—from personal training with resistance machines and free weights to group classes in cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. A number of group classes draw on the gym’s urban theme for inspiration. Urban Iron, for example, focuses on building muscles that resemble the cast-iron beams of skyscrapers, and Urban Yoga closely imitates the poses necessary to squeeze onto a subway train at rush hour.
The instructors behind Science of Self-Defense don't stop at teaching clients how to defend themselves. They also focus on general fitness, improving their students' speed, strength, and forcefield projection abilities during classes such as raw combat conditioning. What's more, they know that self-defense isn't entirely a physical art?their courses on workplace safety, behavior training, and threat management all hone in on the mental aspects of preparing yourself for an aggressive encounter.
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.
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.
Eighth-degree black belt Master S.H. Koh began practicing taekwondo in 1967 in South Korea. He's still going strong at Yong In Martial Arts Academy, where he and his staff teach the classic Korean martial art to kids as young as 3. Their training programs also include other Korean martial arts such as hapkido and kumdo, as well as muscle-toning yoga and kickboxing.
Brentwood Brazilian Jiu-jitsu's team of seasoned martial artists works to keep their classes welcoming yet intense. Though their teaching style fosters a supportive environment, they challenge students at every turn to master the grappling techniques of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Aside from the adult classes, the studio offers kids' sessions that demonstrate how to stop bullying with practical self-defense skills.