Multiple fitness disciplines converge at Studio 4 Athletics. The heritage-style facility that was ranked number one in the Best of the City Gym/Fitness Studio category by the Victoria News houses two floors and eight training areas, each dedicated to a distinct purpose. The cardio area whirrs with the sound of treadmills and ellipticals, and the strength-training area clinks with the sound of free weights and functional-training equipment. In a cycling room, trainers lead a stationary Tour de France. Other studios play host to yoga, dance fitness classes, and boot camps. Within a boxing ring, instructors teach students how to duel their way to tighter forms, or mix fighting and creative movement into art forms known as capoeira and slap-hopscotch.
Kickboxing classes deliver a knee to the face of fat, burning up to 860 calories an hour with the high-energy striking moves of martial arts and boxing. All four limbs get in on the bag-bludgeoning action at iLoveKickboxing as each class provides a full-body workout that tones arm, leg, and tentacle muscles while tightening the body’s core and improving balance. Hitting the heavy bags won't skin your knuckles once you don the included boxing gloves, which also double as excellent spring-loaded props for re-creating Three Stooges gags. Class times and dates vary based on each location: Woodinville, Seattle, Gig Harbor, Puyallup and Lacey.
Open since 2005, West Coast Martial Arts promotes the spread of Mixed Martial Arts through the capable hands and feet of its expert instructors. From 23 locations, they train students of all ages and experience levels in the nuances of an international array of martial arts. Their fundamentals programs introduce tots, youths, and adults to some of the fastest-growing disciplines in North America, arming students with pragmatic self-defence skills that work as well in the heat of the moment as they do in the calm of the dojo. Instructors also lead an array of classes for more advance practitioners. Teaching the grappling and ground-fighting techniques of Brazilian jujitsu, they lead students in battling larger opponents with the holds and submissions of the Gracie street self-defence system. They round out their curriculum with the striking arts of kickboxing and muay thai, which is also called the "science of eight limbs." In this combat style, students unleash flurries of blows using their hands, feet, elbows, and knees, turning into a more fearsome opponent than Bruce Lee before he had his conjoined twin removed.
Steps from the SkyTrain, limbs reach toward the clouds and footsteps simulate thunderstorms? rumbles. Inside Urban Fitness Club, exercisers perform these ancient yoga poses and Latin-inspired dance moves as they admire downtown?s nature and architecture. As fun and buoyant as a bounce castle filled with helium, motivating instructors impart these moves during classes for students of all skill levels and body types. Boot camps, one of the club?s specialties, challenge cadets with a series of bodyweight exercises such as planks and burpees, which may be interspersed with cardio challenges such as step-ups and jump-rope drills. The club was named one of the three best boot camps in 2013 and 2014 by "The Georgia Straight Best of Vancouver." The brand new Urban Fitness Club in South Granville is located on the corner of Granville and 6th Ave., and boasts more than 1,500 sq. ft. of training area with ample free or metered parking nearby.
If each form of martial arts and self-defense was a different musical instrument, then Johnny Ahmed would be a one-man orchestra, one where every note could shatter a plywood board. For more than 15 years, Mr. Ahmed has immersed himself in the world of martial arts—he's mastered kickboxing and Muay Thai, earned a 5th degree black belt in Taekwondo and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and has become certified in Bas Rutten MMA. In fact, Bas Rutten himself even visited Mr. Ahmed's studio, Richmond Martial Arts.
The majority of visitors to Richmond Martial Arts, however, aren't master fighters. Mr. Ahmed and his fellow instructors work with adults and children of all levels, starting with students as young as two years old. Their kid-focused programs work to build discipline, social skills, and confidence, as well as keep kids fit and active. Instructors also host specialized "Bully Proof" workshops, helping little ones avoid harassment at school. Adult and teen programs, meanwhile, split off into specific martial arts. Instructors teach disciplines such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai kickboxing, and Taekwondo: a full-body workout that instills balance, strength, and flexibility. Regardless of the chosen program, the faculty helps students stay in shape and learn practical, real world self defense.
Canadian Hapkido President Master Michael Lok has traced a circuitous route to his current position as one of Canada’s highest ranked practitioners of hapkido, a Korean mixed martial arts style that claims millions of black belts worldwide. Born in Hong Kong, Lok studied in Regina, during which time he became interested in the fighting style's intricate kicks, strikes, and joint locks. After winning the Canadian Open Sparring Championship and amassing enough trophies to fill a tiny inflatable swimming pool, Lok decided to go to Korea—hapkido’s birthplace—for several years of intensive training. Now a seventh-level dan black belt, Lok passes on decades of martial-arts wisdom in his Richmond studio, which he proudly claims is Canada's largest dedicated hapkido facility. Open since 1996, the studio and its seasoned instructors help practitioners of all ages progress through hapkido's traditional belt system. In addition to boosting self-confidence, honing discipline, and improving physical fitness, the studio also inspires loyalty; current and past student alike helped honor Master Lok and company with a Richmond News Readers Choice Award for Best Martial Arts Studio multiple times over the past decade.