By Rachael Dabkey
Go full-contact and combative in Chicago at some of the best mixed martial arts studios the city has to offer. Expect a combination of jiu jitsu, kickboxing, boxing and wrestling styles to exhaust and beat you into shape quickly and efficiently in the hands of these area pros. Learn techniques that include striking, grappling, standing and grounding while building self-confidence, focus and strength.
POW! Mixed Martial Arts
950 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Price: $110 to $129 per month/$25 day pass/$179 10-class punch card.
Hours: Mon to Wed – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thurs – 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri – 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Sun – closed
Programs offered at POW! include muay Thai kickboxing, MMA, krav maga self defense, boxing, fitness and weight loss. Instructors at POW! recommend that you take a series of jiu jitsu, kickboxing and boxing classes before enrolling in the MMA classes. Owner Katalin Rodriguez Ogren boasts 30 years of experience and has been featured in SHAPE magazine. Law enforcement, fire fighters and military members as well as full-time students qualify for a monthly membership discount. If you purchase a punch card, you must use it within 60 days. In addition to this West Loop location, POW! also has a location in the River North neighborhood.
Extreme Kungfu Wushu Training Center
5951 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60626
Price: $105 to $130 per month
Hours: Mon, Wed and Fri – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Tues, Thurs – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sun – Closed
Located in Rogers Park, Extreme Kungfu offers a multitude of programs, including wushu, tai chi, sanshou (Chinese free fighting) and MMA. The core focus of the MMA classes includes a combination of wrestling, jiu jitsu, boxing, muay Thai and sanshou. Members say the atmosphere is casual but this studio's team of instructors provide intense workouts. The center is large, so classes overlap, but it's always easy to find and schedule the classes that fit you best.
Keller's Martial Arts
3718 W. Irving Park Rd.
Chicago, IL 60618
Price: $135 to $185 per month
Hours: Mon and Wed – 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Tue and Thurs – 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Fri – 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Keller's Martial Arts, located in Chicago's Irving Park neighborhood, offers free first classes, boot camps and a black-belt club for fast-moving fighters. The head instructor brings more than 20 years of training experience to the studio, and the MMA instructor is a former Marine and professional fighter. The programs, which focus on individualized personal development, include MMA, self defense, tae kwon do, hapkido, capoeira, judo, kickboxing, yoga, hip-hop dance and body shaping. Rent the studio out for private sessions or workshops to share those self-defense skills and heart-pounding workouts with your nearest and dearest.
Northside Mixed Martial Arts
1363 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Price: $99 to $149 per month
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sat – 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; Sun – Closed
Programs at this Lincoln Park center include Gracie jiu jitsu, MMA, kickboxing and a women's-only MMA boot camp. Northside has also partnered with Lasky Martial Arts to provide children's classes. Members receive individual attention in this intimate gym setting from instructors with as many as 12 years of experience in multiple disciplines. Learn to use limbs you didn't know you had, including hands, elbows and knees, for the most effective self-defense possible.
Kensho Martial Arts
1030 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
Price: $128 for 8 classes/$320 for 20 classes
Hours: Mon – 3:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Tues – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; 4 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.; Wed – 3:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.; Thurs – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; 3:15 to 8:30 p.m.; Fri – 4:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.; Sat – 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.; Sun – closed
Kensho Martial Arts is located on the third floor of Core Fitness in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Head instructor Roger Luri comes with more than 30 years of teaching experience and a thorough knowledge of the martial arts. Classes offer individual attention and focus on technique and form. Come here for MMA, kickboxing, muay Thai, self defense, yoga and martial arts for children.
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Rachael Dabkey has lived in the Chicago area her entire life. As a self-proclaimed foodie, she loves exploring the city to find good eats. Thanks to her savvy research and planning skills, she has snagged unbelievable deals on travel, including airfare, all-inclusive resorts and cruises. Rachael knows how to enjoy the best of life for less and loves to share this knowledge with her readers. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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