Lanna Mixed Martial Arts conditions beginners and hardened warriors alike using hard-hitting fighting techniques taught in a friendly, positive atmosphere. Adults of all fitness levels burn fat and build muscle while learning effective self-defense skills in Brazilian jiu jitsu courses, muay thai kickboxing sessions, and fast-striking MMA matches. Kids age 3–12, meanwhile, learn discipline, respect, and healthy lifestyle practices in children's martial arts courses, showing off their skills at community events and demonstrations.
At Lanna's sleek, spacious facility, guests don sport-specific training pads and spar in comfort and safety. Medicine balls, kick pads, and a forest of punching bags await punishment from hands and feet, while trainees face off in the professional-grade boxing ring.
In 2004, Warren Lee was a high-school teacher by day and a muay thai kick-boxing private trainer on the side. But demand for his private lessons grew, and eventually the one-man business blossomed into a full-time combat fitness business. Today, Lee runs Toronto Kickboxing & Muay Thai (TKMT) Academy at three locations, all of which provide friendly atmospheres for students to work up a sweat, shed stress, and learn self-defense. The staff credits its unintimidating and professional attitude with helping to draw an almost even split of male and female students—a rarity in martial-arts gyms.
All three locations feature pristine facilities and include men's and women's changing rooms and individual showers, as well as a boxing ring, grappling mats, thai pads, heavy bags, and an assortment of training equipment. The staff of committed instructors includes Ajahn Amnat Yodkwain, a former professional fighter and muay thai master who has trained in Thailand's combative arts since the age of 7. All of the academy's instructors possess CPR and first-aid certification and participate regularly in professional development. In order to join the team, they must also pass a series of rigorous tests designed to challenge their skills in muay thai, general fitness, and kicking cookie jars off the top shelf.
Founder Steve Ferreira specializes in jeet kune do, leading classes that focus on getting results both in terms of fitness and competitive development. Kick-boxing, grappling, MMA, and women's combat classes are also taught.
A descendant of a samurai, Makoto Kabayama views himself as a peacemaker. This natural talent explains his past stints as a security guard for musicians, a training coordinator for the Guardian Angels, and a combat instructor for a US Navy SEAL’s counterterrorist unit. It also explains his purpose at JKD Family Martial Arts, where he shows others how to keep the peace. His preferred method of the past 25 years has been Jeet Kune Do, a martial art created by Bruce Lee. During beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes, Kabayama teaches his students the method’s four principles: awareness, avoidance, de-escalation, and, if necessary, quick and simple self-defense movements and strikes.
No matter the reason behind a visit to TEAM UMAC, chances are, you'll end up hitting stuff. Furnished with a professional boxing ring, a fighting cage, open mat space, and plenty of heavy punching bags, the facility has been a fighter's haven since 1990. It was then that owner and head instructor, Lou Milonas, founded TEAM UMAC, basing his new business around his decades of experience in traditional and Mixed Martial Arts. Over the years, TEAM UMAC has evolved, and today includes classes in everything from karate, kung fu, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Thai boxing to boot-camp fitness classes.
Over the course of her 21-year martial-arts career, senior instructor Laura Vuculescu has won an assortment of medals, most of which have been gold. She has medaled in a slew of international kickboxing and muay thai competitions and has also spent time in the ring as a referee and on the sidelines as a judge. Her expertise in muay thai, also known as the “science of eight limbs,” forms the backbone of her curriculum of self-defence and fitness classes at Black Tigers Gym.
She conducts private and group sessions, divided into youth and adult classes for fighters of all experience levels. Students build fight-ready physiques by heaving an assortment of free weights and pummelling heavy bags with a flurry of strikes from hands, feet, knees, and elbows. In the on-site boxing ring, competitors get the chance to test their might against fellow students and punching bags trained to fight back.