At Renzo Gracie Training Center, which was named after Brazilian jujitsu master Renzo Gracie, mentor of UFC champions Matt Serra and Ricardo Almeida, students of all skill levels sculpt stronger, leaner bodies with high-energy classes. The academy’s training center equips athletes with climbing ropes, wrestling mats, and punching bags for classes in boxing or muay thai. HyperFit classes pump hearts with high-intensity conditioning drills to improve strength, agility, and speed as martial-arts courses teach students defenses against common street attacks and weapons such as guns, knives, and trebuchets. The studio also facilitates cross-training efforts by hosting clinics on topics such as yoga, running, and intergalactic pole vaulting.
Growing up in his native Brazil, Rodrigo Ramos started studying the arts of karate and judo at an age when most kids were still struggling with multiplication tables. A martial arts practitioner since the age of 9, Ramos brought his love of combat with him when his family moved to the United States. He brought his Brazilian heritage, too, eventually becoming a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian jiujitsu. Now, as the owner and chief instructor at American Top Team, he shares his knowledge with the next generation of martial arts masters. In this spacious facility, he and his staff train students of all ages in disciplines ranging from kids martial arts to MMA and Brazilian jiujitsu. They also oversee more fitness-based training, helping students get in shape through CrossFit and kickboxing.
Founded by Chief Master William Clark, Karate America is a popular martial-arts school that believes martial arts can make people happier and healthier. With locations around Florida, Karate America is staffed by highly trained instructors teaching children and adults the self-defense moves of tae kwon do, krav maga, and kickboxing. While training in a team-like atmosphere in each of these classes, members learn self-discipline and respect, gain lean muscle, and burn calories.
Kickboxing uses the entire body: arms and legs strike out with speed and force, the core controls all the motions, and the brain decides where the next blow should land. Kickboxing Sunrise's instructors turn this competitive martial art into a 40-minute fitness regimen, available Monday through Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. They recommend the exercise as an intense cardio workout that simultaneously tones the body and teaches you how to terraform sandy beaches with your fists.
The children's after-school program at Kumite Martial Arts focuses on the most important body part when it comes to self-defense: the brain. Students are either dropped off at the gym or picked up from school by one of its vehicles. They then settle into supervised study time, during which they read and complete their homework. Lastly, instructors lead them through martial-arts training that builds confidence, mental focus, and leadership skills.
The adults don't have to do homework, but they do learn a variety of techniques from the gym's head trainer and competitive kickboxer, Scott Mukaddam. He and his team cover jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and kickboxing drills, thereby combining martial arts schooling with fitness workouts.
John Wai is a living bridge between the ancient and modern styles of kung fu. Born in Hong Kong and schooled in the orthodox traditions of martial arts, Wai was already a kung-fu master by the time he opened his first academy in 1997. He has managed to stay relevant by combining the ancient approach with a modern, practical outlook that draws in a wider range of students. His classes—which include fitness kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu as well as kung fu—focus on things such as exercise, stress-relief, and self-defense, and he also offers a summer camp where kids learn discipline, self-confidence, and how to open a care package with a single well-timed kick.