Shihan Mike Downs, head of Defensive Arts Dojo, isn't just a sixth-degree karate champ and active member of the Isshin-Ryu World Karate Association. He's also a chiropractor, and that double life as a doctor and a sensei adds richness to his instruction. Like Mike, there's more to Defensive Arts Dojo than mastering kicks and punches. It's a discipline of the mind and the body, and a boosting of self-confidence that permeates their gregarious, yet challenging, lessons. Fighting classes include the defensive techniques of Brazilian jujitsu, kendo and iaido swordsmanship, and Ground Zero courses for thwarting domestic foes. Physical fitness seekers can let their inner warrior loose in Warrior Fitness programs that meld core exercises and cardio training with MMA techniques, and yoga classes enhance flexibility and strength while vanquishing stress through exercise and relaxing meditation.
Defensive Arts Training Centre offers four class types: kickboxing, mixed martial arts, Brazilian jujitsu, and kids' martial arts. In mixed-martial-arts classes, masters teach a combination of moves from various disciplines, such as karate, judo, and muay thai. Meanwhile, youth aged 4–18 progress between belts by grappling and self-defense in kids classes. Brazilian jujitsu instructors impart a foundation for practical defense that involves submission holds and shadow-puppet decoys, while kickboxing participants build strength as they work up a full-body sweat.
Muay Thai Niagara occupies an immense 5,000-square-foot facility, with more than 30 bags, and one of Ontario’s most experienced staff of instructors, which includes Canadian national team coach Kru Roger Lumyoung. Adult classes run seven days a week, with sessions available for men, women, children, and defenseless scarecrows. Children's classes teach self-defense methods within an organized setting that focuses on discipline and respect, and adult classes offer students a recreational workout using martial arts techniques.
With multiple degrees in fitness and nutrition, Victor Dean Training’s eponymous owner has curated his gym and climbing center to focus on clients’ overall health. Victor hand-selects all the gym’s brand-name equipment for its efficacy and usefulness in a well-rounded fitness regime, ensuring clients aren’t toiling away on weight equipment and cardio machines that fail to offer results. The staff pairs standard gym memberships with options such as personalized sessions and nutritional counseling that build up health like cyborg organ implantation.
Although seventh-degree black belt Mike Martin is a world taekwondo champion, his most-prized distinction is simply "dad." He takes the concept of family seriously, incorporating it into his studio's philosophy. He helms martial-arts classes in which whole clans of moms, dads, and siblings can learn the art of self-defence or settle unresolved remote-control battles together in the same session. He also leads classes designed exclusively for adults only and for kids only. In addition to hand-to-hand combat, Rising Sun instructors also lead kickboxing classes and boot camps, as well as courses in Korean swordsmanship.
International flags hang over the mat-covered practice area, which also boasts wall grips for climbing and a mountain-range mural. The space additionally plays host to kids’ birthday parties in which tots spend their afternoon taking in a martial-arts lesson, climbing on the walls, and breaking boards with their bare hands, just like carpenters who've replaced their hands with saws.