One of the fastest-growing sports in the country, mixed martial arts get children and adults in on the action, teaching self-defense, values and combative skills all while keeping families in shape. These D.C.-area studios are the place to start for heart-pumping, hard-pounding martial arts action.
DC Aikido Family Martial Arts
2639 Connecticut Ave. Northwest, Ste. C-104
Washington, DC 20008
Price: $39 introductory program
Hours: Mon – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tues to Fri – 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat and Sun – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition to working toward earning a black belt, students at DC Aikido Family Martial Arts learn discipline, focus, perseverance and inner strength. Aikido teaches the philosophy of peace and harmony, incorporates self-defense training and fosters self-improvement as a whole. The studio provides classes for children, teens and adults and includes special workshops including adult self-defense and anti-bullying. DC Aikido also hosts special events for the whole family, such as Nerf gun fun for kids and wine tasting for adults.
Washington Shotokan Karate
3265 S. St. Northwest
Washington, DC 20007
Price: $50 month for adults/$35 month for full-time students/$30 month for youth
Hours: Tues and Thurs – 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat – 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (adults only); Sun – 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
For more than 30 years, volunteer-run, non-profit Washington Shotokan Karate has trained students ages 8 to 70 in self-defense, self-control and stress relief techniques. In addition to teaching Shotokan martial arts, the studio also teaches kissaki-kai karate-do, a form of martial arts that incorporates real-life fighting scenarios. This type of training is available for those with a yellow belt and above. In addition to martial arts, Washington Shotokan Karate also offers workshops and clinics such as the NYPD Defense Tactics clinic and camps.
4445 Wisconsin Ave.
Washington, DC 20016
Price: $250 signup
Hours: Mon – 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Tues, Thurs and Fri – 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Wed – 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat – 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If you’ve got one heck of a schedule, Yong Studios is known for offering the most tae kwon do, karate, aikido and other martial arts classes in the DC area. The studio also offers yoga and chi gung classes, which incorporate rhythmic breathing and meditation techniques to help alleviate everyday stresses as well as the physical stress of martial arts training. The studio offers training to both children and adults and provides additional workshops and classes including kids night out, seasonal camps and board-breaking classes.
Capitol Hill Martial Arts and Fitness Academy
1443 D St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Price: prices vary by program
Hours: Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Known as DC’s premier martial arts and fitness academy for women and children, Capitol Hill MAFA teaches its students a unique combination of Brazilian jiu jitsu and Thai boxing for self-defense, as well as power yoga and mixed martial arts for weight loss, stress relief and improved physical fitness. Children’s classes incorporate gymnastics with mixed martial arts training and are open to kids as young as 3. Sign up to receive a personal consultation, fitness assessments, customized workouts and a nutrition plan.
1459 Columbia Rd Northwest
Washington, DC 20009
Price: free trial offer
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri – 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat – 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sun – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The BETA Academy is D.C.’s premier children’s martial arts and character development program. In addition to martial arts, the academy also teaches children how to handle bullies, get good grades and maintain healthy self-confidence and self-esteem. The academy also provides an after-school program and summer camp, picking children up from school at no extra charge. Classes are divided by age, size and skill level. The BETA Academy has more than 10 years of experience teaching children of all ages and abilities.
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.