A ballroom dancer for more than 20 years, Richard Green understands how the body communicates. His work in ballet and modern dance instilled in him a deep fascination with structural alignment, muscular energy, and balance, as well as a comprehensive understanding of how the body heals from injury. Today, at Massage Therapy Works, he helms a large staff of highly trained massage therapists who customize each treatment chosen from a long list of therapies. Thai bodywork increases lymphatic drainage through massage and passive yoga poses, helping decompress joints and increase range of motion, while sports massages help active individuals prevent or recover from injuries sustained on the field or while acting out slow-motion replays. Meanwhile, classic techniques such as deep tissue and therapeutic massage assist in the removal of physical tension and mental stress and oncology massage helps bodies better manage symptoms of cancer treatment through gentle strokes, energy work, and guided meditation.
With over 15 million students trained since their founding in 1968, Villari's Martial Arts Centers continue to train pugnacious pugilists young and old using techniques crafted by Grandmaster Fred Villari. Developed as a fusion of classic Eastern fighting styles, Villari's exclusive Shaolin Kempo Karate combines the graceful energy of Shaolin, the quick, explosive blows of kempo and karate, and the grappling of Chin Na to provide combatants with a varied, effective self-defense system. Children gain strength and discipline in youth classes, while adult classes leave grown-ups ready to handle anything from dojo defense to tense lunchroom stand-offs over the day's last apple bran muffin.
On its website, Redline Fight Sports boasts that it is not a typical, low-intensity health club. Rather, it is a 5,000-square-foot facility designed to train fighters and fitness enthusiasts who want to train like fighters but do not want to interact with large slabs of meat. Its coaches—most fighters themselves—preach purposeful and practical training, where natural movements replace rote exercises to help boost strength, speed, flexibility, and stamina. For example, instead of sitting at a bicep-curl machine, a student in the popular Fighter-Fit class may slug an uppercut bag or whip into a teardrop knee bag. This choreography of punches and kicks takes place in the training area, where heavy bags and lightweight striking bags hang, some on a custom, 40-foot rail system that slides them to and fro. In a back cage room, grapplers can train over fully matted floors and walls, even practicing throws on a crash mat.
A regulation-sized sparring ring is available for dedicated boxing training, and free weights work to boost strength capacity. An air exchanger circulates fresh oxygen into the gym, which also rents towels for its fighters in training.
There are more black belts in Mass BJJ's Acton and Arlington studios than even the biggest of Johnny Cash's walk-in closets. Though in this case, they're tied around the waists of expert martial arts trainers, who teach the finer points of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to both kids and adults. This particular martial art form focuses on getting an opponent to the ground, where size doesn't matter and proper fighting technique reigns supreme.
While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu inspired Mass BJJ's name, it isn't the only discipline taught atop their red padded floors. In fact, the instructors encourage students to mix different classes to get a well-rounded martial arts education. To that end, they lead kick-boxing, MMA, and general strength-conditioning classes.
Recognizing that there is a strength in numbers, Borealis Yoga strives to create a compassionate sense of community among all of its students so that the members can draw support and encouragement from each other as they further their practice. This practice is ideal for any ability level since the instructors lead an array of classes that embrace yoga styles intended for adults as well as children. Gently paced sessions emphasize stretches and a sense of introspective calm while the more physically engaging classes incorporate asana sequences or core-strengthening exercises on top of the fundamental poses. Regardless of the intensity of the class, every session incorporates mindful breathing exercises and meditation in addition to the physical asanas.
Before becoming owner and head trainer at Sityodtong Muay Thai Academy, Mark DellaGrotte spent a decade in Thailand, training under muay thai guru Kru Yodtong and competing in high-profile bouts. His experience transformed him into a formidable muay thai kickboxer, earning him spots on several TV shows including Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter and UFC Countdown. However, it also made him an expert ambassador for Thai-style boxing. Today, Mark and his team of instructors foster fight-ready fitness with classes in muay thai, Brazilian jujitsu, mixed martial arts, and boxing.