Sensei Ed Melaugh spent 18 years practicing street jujitsu before training with Professor Wally Jay, the founder of New England Small Circle JuJitsu. Professor Jay later promoted Ed to eighth-degree black belt and asked him to lead the United States Small Circle Jujitsu Association. In 1991, Ed was inducted into the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He also trained with Sijo James DeMile, a student of Bruce Lee. DeMile is best known for his contribution to Lee's intense one- and three-inch punches.
As the sensei at New England Small Circle JuJitsu, Ed Melaugh teaches street safety to kids, adults, and law-enforcement officers. He instructs them to target an attacker's weaknesses, using simple circular motions on their fingers and wrists or bribing them to go away with a sprinkle-flecked donut. Though targeting certain body parts can cause pain, it aims to take down opponents without wounding them.
During afternoons at Together in Motion, children, accompanied by their parents, safely crawl through tunnels, practice somersaults, or explore a Parthenon made completely out of padded building blocks atop a cushioned floor. Evenings, however, turn the tables, allowing grownups to take over the space to fling dodgeballs at opponents or rehearse martial arts strikes in time for their kids' Bring Your Ninja to School Day. Weekend nights find thumping dance soundtracks traveling through the rooms, as black-light parties for teens and tweens celebrate birthdays and raise funds for nonprofits.
Though they admit disparate age groups, these classes and events provide a venue for guests to connect through movement. Together in Motion's facility rents its rooms to independent organizations—Social Boston Sports and Arlington Martial Arts among them—that encourage exercise and camaraderie. From the Latin-inspired beats of adult-centric Zumba classes to the musical motor-skill activities of Movin' Groovin' Tots, all of the programs foster both communal support and a healthy sense of self-confidence.
Certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, the staff of climbing instructors at Boston Rock Gym teach torsos how to ascend altitudes with indoor-, outdoor-, and youth-climbing activities. The savvy instructors lead the way around the facility’s more than 40 ropes, which set the stage for both group and private indoor lessons, as well as open climbing sessions in which self-guided climbers reach for neon-colored handgrips while being supported by auto-belay devices. Outdoors, students learn to navigate nature’s authentic slabs during lessons and clinics that start with the basics and graduate up to advanced ice-climb maneuvers. Additionally, the facility’s youth programs cater to smaller grips and aim to boost self-confidence while preparing children for the physical-fitness portion of the SAT.
The instructors at Elite Freestyle Karate believe that power isn't in the punch but in the person behind it. With a philosophy geared toward building character, they foster self-confidence and positive attitudes in each of their safe, fun karate and kickboxing classes. Children aged 3 and older learn valuable lessons in dealing with real-world challenges such as bullies and peer pressure.
Bike Boom functions as a fountain of youth for cycles that pass its threshold. Its technicians take in used and vintage models for renovation, transforming them into street-safe vehicles for all types of terrain. They track their makeover efforts on the shop's blog, highlighting retro specimens such as an overhauled Shogun Easy Street from the mid- to late ’80s and a ’70s Schwinn Collegiate Cruiser. Visiting guests can peruse the menagerie of multi- and single-speed road bikes, mountain bikes, and city bikes, which are designed for everyday trips around the block or up the walls of skyscrapers. Riders with a specific vision can also commission a custom-built cycle.
The professional mechanics in the repair shop perform tune-ups and install new parts. Shelves of accessories and gear—including helmets, locks, lights, and handlebar tape—equip pedalers for their commutes, and the staff readily orders items that aren't in stock or easily harvested from the derailleur tree in the backyard.