Fitness crazes come and go—remember Zumba?—but like a good pair of Levis, martial arts remained a staple. It’s no surprise. Classes teach people self defense, serve as an alternative fitness outlet and can improve balance and endurance. Whatever your reason for signing up, Long Island martial arts classes can help you reach your goals swinging.
Matt Serra, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight World Champion, formed Serra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) in 2001. The adult martial arts program offers classes in BJJ, Muay Thai kickboxing, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) training. There is open mat available on the weekends for participants with at least three stripes on their white belt.
“BJJ and Muay Thai are more fun than a typical workout; at the same time, you’re learning self-defense,” said Serra. “We pride ourselves on the family-like environment. I always tell my instructors—nothing is more important than the atmosphere.”
It’s no wonder the parking lot is usually full.
ECF’s adult martial arts program includes classes in boxing and Judo, Muay Thai training, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing and wrestling. Owner Christian DeFiris has been training in the martial arts for more than 15 years and is a passionate advocate for how the martial arts can transform lives.
“We not only train and compete in martial arts but support one another on our journey to better health and well-being,” DeFlores said. “Some of our clients have experienced dramatic weight loss…one lost 110 pounds.”
To promote overall well-being, ECF Martial Arts and Fitness also has a personal training department that specializes in weight loss and nutrition, strength and conditioning and mobility and flexibility training.
Since June of 2015, Long Beach BJJ has been offering classes for beginners to the advanced in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Open seven days a week, the spot caters to a diverse clientele: “We don’t have a typical MMA crowd,” owner Marvin Lee said. “We tend to see people from all walks of life…accountants, firemen, police officers, and teachers.”
Lee, who has been practicing BJJ for more than 12 years, espoused the advantages of martial arts: “There are a lot of physical benefits; it’s a different type of cardio workout—very deep and intense. It’s also mentally challenging and tends to lend itself to an all-around healthy lifestyle.”
People from the East End to Nassau flock to Epic Martial Arts for Tai Chi, MMA/Jiu Jitsu kickboxing, traditional Karate and BJJ (BJJ is offered in Sag Harbor on a private lesson basis only).
Owner and operator of the Sag Harbor studio Michelle Del Giorno has been training in the Martial Arts for more than 30 years. “We teach real-life self-defense,” said Del Giorno.
Women looking to sharpen self-defense skills can attend workshops, which also teach safety awareness.
Four Gates is a boutique style fitness facility that aims to keep class size small. The martial arts program is twofold: the first is based on Chinese Kung Fu training. The second is a Skillz Fit Program.
“We serve as a community crossroads of martial arts cultures and philosophies,” said Michael A. Evans. “We stand as a resource for those looking to learn the traditional and ancient methods of Chinese Kung Fu while using modern sciences and teaching modalities to convey the knowledge.”
The Kung Fu classes use a rotational curriculum, including: traditional forms work (choreographed patterns of movement used to teach concepts and ideas), weapons, self-defense and application and assorted sparring methods such as point and freestyle.
The Skillz Fit program incorporates basic martial arts techniques with four different types of classes: Fundamentals and Functional Fitness; Endurance and Cardio Strength; Performance and Core Strength, and Express Class, which is an abbreviated workout involving hard-core heavy bag work.