While supporters of mixed martial arts continue to wrangle with legal channels to get New York State to overturn its ban on the professional sport, those who are interested in MMA and traditional martial arts know this is the city to learn and train safely. As attitudes about MMA — particularly its merits as fitness and self-defense training — change, more programs will no doubt become available to New Yorkers, but few could compete with these, the best of the best, right in New York.
Krav Maga Academy
25 W. 26th St., 6th floor
New York, NY 10010
Hours: Sun to Fri – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sat
Price: fre first class/$145 per month for six months/$125 per month for 12 months/$300 for 10 sessions for non-members
It’s all about self-defense at Krav Maga, and its instructors are specialists in adapting their extensive special ops and Navy SEAL backgrounds to street-effective methods. In addition to improving strength and learning strikes, students learn defense tactics such as weapon disarming, and restraint and control techniques. All courses are adults only, with special courses in women’s self-defense. Check out the Friday in jeans program, open to all students with training techniques in casual/street clothes.
18 W. 18th St., Room 505
New York, NY 10011
Hours: Tues and Thurs – 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Wed – 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sat – noon to 1:30 p.m.
Price: $15 trial classes
Fighthouse offers MMA, Brazilian jiu jitsu, muay Thai and the increasingly popular Russian martial art, systema. In addition to defense training, Systema is also beneficial as a unique cardiovascular workout and for body strengthening and muscle toning. Learn to control the direction of a fight, take opponents down gently, but firmly and end a fight quickly and efficiently. Classes incorporate muay Thai, boxing, BJJ, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, submission wrestling, judo and sambo.
Pure MMA NYC
104 W. 14th St., 4th floor
New York, NY 10011
Hours: Mon to Fri – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat to Sun – noon to 3 p.m.
Price: $25 trial classes
Offering intense training for those serious about MMA, this school emphasizes that it is not about fitness or casual training; its focus is on teaching realistic martial arts for self-defense and MMA competition. Still, beginners are welcome, and most of Pure MMA’s students have no experience when they start training. There are three back-to-back classes each day, and students are welcome to join an ongoing class whenever they show up. There is also no dress code or uniform, but sneakers and socks are not allowed on the mats.
300 W. 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036
Price: contact for pricing by program
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat to Sun – 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
JKD NYC derives its training program from Bruce Lee’s jeet kune do, the original mixed martial art. In addition to the physical aspect of the sport, trainer Chris Moran also focuses on the mental and spiritual elements of MMA, allowing each student to develop in his or her own way as a martial artist. Classes are available for adults and kids. Personal training is also available by appointment.
East Side Tae Kwon Do
325 E. 65th St.
New York, NY 10065
Hours: Mon – 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Tues – 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Wed – noon to 8:30 p.m.; Thurs – 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Fri – 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sat – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Sun
Price: free trial/$100 kids’ registration with tae kwon do uniform/$300 one-month kids program up to two classes per week/$225 adult one-month program up to four classes per week
If all this MMA talk seems a little hardcore for your needs, traditional martial arts may be more your speed. East Side Tae Kwon Do offers instruction to children and adults in tae kwon do, cardio kickboxing and warrior yoga. Take group or private classes, including new parent/child tae kwon do sessions.
Michael Browne is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City, specializing in travel and the hospitality industry. Browne is the former managing editor of Travel Agent magazine. His work can be found on Examiner.com.