Being raised in the Burmese fighting styles by his grandfather and working as a professional fighter between the ages of 16–26, Phil Dunlap is fluent in the language of foot and fist. A time would come, however, that would physically challenge him more than any of the 114 professional fights he's participated in. Prior to his 26th birthday, he broke his neck in a car accident, forcing him to step out of the ring for what medical professionals thought would be forever. This didn’t sit well with Dunlap, who had been used to pushing himself since he was a child. On a mission to prove his doctors wrong, he worked long and hard enough to eventually fight again at the age of 36 and open his very own studio, Advanced Fighting Systems.
Today, he and his team lead classes, including Burmese boxing and mixed martial arts, which focus on self-defense and total-body fitness. They put students through standup striking drills and demonstrate how to wrap legs and arms around opponents to develop useful grappling skills for winning a match in the ring or convincing your boss to give you a raise. While the instructors help fighters train for competitive matches, they don't pressure anyone to go in that direction, creating an environment where everyone can feel free to achieve their own goals.
Winner of more than 100 mixed-martial-arts competitions, Tiger Schulmann shares his pride and love for fighting and self-defense with both adults and children in gyms across five states. From first-time grapplers to expert muay thai fighters, students of all fitness and experience levels are welcome to dive into a class at Schulmann’s. At more than 47 locations, adults can take classes in kickboxing, MMA, and jujitsu—the last of which instills students with the skill and confidence to take down opponents of any size, strength, or telekinetic ability. Kids, meanwhile, can learn martial arts for fun, or gain useful experience in bully prevention; the kids’ classes help victims immediately identify and safely diffuse situations when pitted against an aggressor.
When JoJo Guarin isn’t taking down expert fighters twice his size in invitation-only professional grappling tournaments, he’s designing the curriculum at East Coast United BJJ & MMA. A swimmer before he was a fighter, Guarin advocates the use of cross-training as the primary method of getting his students in shape. This leaves him and his instructors time to focus purely on technique in Braziliain jujitsu, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. The team sets up the schedule to provide specific times for beginners to practice, welcoming men, women, children, and teenaged turtles of all skill levels into their training sessions. When the combative fire in students’ veins flickers out, exercisers can center themselves and increase their flexibility under the tutelage of certified YogaFit instructor Jessica Mondello.
Whether you like high intensity workouts or a slow and steady routine, the instructors at Belmars Martial Arts & Fitness will guide you to better health. Calories are torched and heart rates soar during muay thai kickboxing classes, where students strengthen both their muscles and their mental acuity as they learn how to deliver high kicks and block unwanted bear hugs. Meanwhile, a boxing ring help fighters hone their jabs and uppercuts, while Zumba classes invite students to sweat through easy-to-follow dance moves set to catchy international beats. Yoga and jiu-jitsu classes are also available as are classic circuit training sessions that combine all the benefits of cardio and strength training into a single workout.
A member of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame since 1993 and a 25-year veteran in the field, Master Stevens of Bill Stevens Karate has carved out a studio where students of all ages can learn from his experiences and accomplishments. Stevens has not only earned first-degree black belt status in Gracie jiu-jitsu and sixth-dan blackbelt in Korean karate, he was also tapped by the Bergen County Police to teach defensive tactics to personnel. Here at Bill Stevens Karate, he offers classes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing for men, women, and kids of all ages. During the black belt success system, which is targeted specifically at kids, children learn the finer points of self-defense while getting in shape and exercising their natural desire to break things in half.
Master Park's Black Belt America takes it name from Grandmaster Haeng Soon Park?and, of course, black belts and America. Over his more than 45 years in the martial arts industry, he's earned an 8th-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do?and through the classes at his academies, kids and adults alike can follow in his footsteps. The instructors design routines that hone physical fitness through kicks and jabs, while emphasizing the principle that fighting is for self-defense, and highlighting peaceful conflict resolution techniques.