The grappling fighting style known as jujitsu first came to Brazil in 1914 stored in the hands and mind of Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese immigrant and master of the art. He only stayed a year, but it was enough time to plant the seeds for a new jujitsu academy in Brazil. One of the first students at that academy was Hélio Gracie.
Hélio absorbed the fighting style quickly, adapting many of the techniques to suit his small frame. He discovered methods of leverage that allowed him to execute joint locks, choke holds, and takedowns on much larger opponents, forming the core of his new Gracie jujitsu method. Ultimately, Hélio's son Royce brought the fighting style to America, famously winning UFC 1, 2, and 4 by defeating opponents many times his own size. Suddenly, Americans lined up to learn this newly unveiled Brazilian fighting style, demonstrating their eagerness by folding themselves inside a box and shipping themselves south.
Relson Gracie, Hélio's second oldest son, chose to be an ambassador of his family's fighting style. He was already teaching abroad when his little brother Royce skyrocketed Brazilian jujitsu to popularity. He founded his first school under the name Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Hawaii, and as the art became popular, he opened new branches of his academy all across the United States. Today, he visits more than 40 academies and associations, sharing his knowledge with thousands of students. In his absence, he leaves instructors whom he personally trained to oversee the education of aspiring fighters.
UFC Gym’s four fight-centric Denver-area gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, UFC Gym sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym’s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.
A joint venture between a professional boxer and a team of successful kickboxing-equipment tycoons, Title Boxing Club maintains a network of dozens of studios spread across 19 different states, winning over a devoted clientele with its invigorating and engaging boxing- and kickboxing-themed classes. Each workout uses the heart-healthy exercise of cardio training to satisfy people’s innate desire to punch and kick something other than a broken jukebox. Participants build lithe, strong muscle tissue by delivering powerful blows to punching bags, and build flexibility and agility by practicing roundhouse kicks and hooks. Students can build their core strength and endurance with medicine balls and burpees, enlist a qualified personal trainer to practice their newfound skills in the ring, or just torch calories during intense full-body Power Hour workouts.
As master black-belts with years of training in their field, Grand Master Hart and Master Lewis believe that one of the most effective paths to martial-arts training goes through individual attention. At 5280 Karate Academy, their team of black-belt and master-level instructors work with students one-on-one as they delve into training in a safe, non-competitive environment. Taekwondo and karate programs focus on building physical skills such as basic striking technique and self-defense as well as mental discipline and self-esteem. Once students become comfortable with the basics, coaches work with them to develop more personalized training programs designed to accommodate their individual fitness levels and willingness to punch a plank of wood in the face.
Competitive Edge Mixed Martial Arts' skilled and dedicated instructors help students turn their bodies into streamlined fighting machines with high-intensity fitness boot camps. These sessions include krav maga classes for practical self-defense and kickboxing courses taught by professional martial artists. Adults can turn their cores and limbs into sleek muscle with fitness kickboxing and boot-camp classes, while kids work through martial-arts drills to boost their athleticism and learn to solve challenging moral dilemmas to sharpen their character. Students of all ages can take self-defense, weight-loss, or mixed-martial-arts courses, where they safely spar with one another, punch heavy bags, sprint, lift, and kick their way to good health and self-discipline.