Sticks and stones may break some bones, but not if they’re directed toward one of Capital MMA & Elite Fitness’s students. In a team-oriented environment, the studio’s instructors teach key mixed-martial-arts moves such as grappling, striking, and wrestling and supplement the training with classes in specific fighting styles, such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu and muay thai. Guests looking for a practical crash course in self-defense learn snippets from each technique in women’s self-defense classes, learning methods for staying aware of surroundings, fending off attackers, and freeing themselves from the grip of King Kongs.
The studio's CrossFit program, alternatively, boosts athleticism without combat, through a multi-faceted regimen of Olympic weightlifting, cardio exercise, and custom diets. Beyond group classes, the center offers private lessons and seminars, which allow its students—both children to adults—to learn with focused guidance.
The Women's Club Fitness Center & Day Spa has brought women together for nearly a quarter century to develop strong bodies and radiant skin. Under the direction of owner Florence Auld, their all-female staff has grown from 15 to 55 professionals who have earned advanced degrees, certifications, and secret handshakes in their fields, including specialists in cardiac rehabilitation and myofascial-release massage. Meredith Chiapello draws from degrees in nutrition and health psychology to direct both the fitness-and-personal-training program and the group-exercise program. Before earning her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University, nutritionist Lucky Bennett fed her interest in women's health at the University of Washington, where she earned a degree in Women's Studies with a focus on women and medicine.
The staff welcomes new gym members by designing them a personalized workout regimen, then walking them through the correct use of strength and cardio equipment. More than 50 group classes add camaraderie to cardio or stretch-and-toning workouts, and childcare is available for a nominal fee to help mothers make friends their own age. Spa treatments focus on revealing fresh, smooth skin all over the body with topical treatments in tandem with pore-clearing sessions in the dry-rock sauna.
Within Yamasaki Academy, seasoned martial artists engage students in a way tailored to their particular athletic capacity. To do this, they follow a vigorous signature exercise program that incorporates technique, sparring, competition training, and overall conditioning. Whether choosing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay thai, judo, strength and conditioning, boxing, or mixed martial arts, classes are available for pupils of all ages, genders, and fitness levels.
Kumdo means "the way of the sword," and it's easy to see how faithfully the trainers of U.S. Hwa Rang Kwan Kumdo take that meaning. The classes include bamboo swords, full body armor, and face-obscuring masks, as students and master twirl around one another in intricate, technical maneuvers. A scream accompanies each swing of the sword, making kumdo almost as invigorating to watch as it is to practice.
LA Boxing’s instructors thumb their noses at the suggestion that fighting has no place in public. They happily subvert this social convention, leading students through safe and noncontact fitness classes inspired by the pugilistic arts. Each boxing, kickboxing, or group MMA class is led by a professional fighter, who teaches basic skills during the up-tempo, one-hour workouts. Students warm up with plyometrics before strapping on 6-ounce gloves and hitting a heavy bag with combination of kicks, knees, and elbows. Classes may burn between 800 and 1,000 calories per session, improve coordination and stamina, and increase your tolerance for listening to the theme from Rocky IV on repeat.
The odds of earning a black belt are about one in a hundred, according to Sterner's Tae Kwon Do Academy. That's how many martial-arts students actually stay with it long enough to achieve the honor. The instructors understand the struggle—they've gone through it themselves—and strive to keep their programs engaging and fun. Their tae kwon do, karate, and MMA classes are available for everyone aged 2.5 and up.