Fitness

Where to Learn the Art of Self-Defense in Boston

Protect your health and well-being this month at one of these local martial-arts classes.


Illustration by Jeannie Phan

To sample different martial-arts styles
Try Oom Yung Doe

Established in the 1970s to help both children and adults build confidence and reduce stress, Oom Yung Doe schools teach a blend of eight traditional martial-arts methods, including tae kwon do and kung fu. With five locations across the area, the New England branch promises to help students develop not only high-flying kicks, but also a better quality of life.

352 Washington St., Somerville; and other locations; 857-997-0352, oomyungdoe-ne.com.

To strengthen your mind
Try Judo

Being able to defend yourself is about more than just physical strength—it’s about mental stamina as well. Though it’s considered a combat sport, judo’s principles are still heavily steeped in developing the whole person through such lessons as respecting yourself and others, being flexible in mind and body, and acting sincerely. Get your mind right with help from Boston Judo Club, which holds classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday at Southie’s Ultimate Self Defense and Performance Center.

1663 Columbia Rd., South Boston, 617-268-9893, ultimateselfdefense.com.

To learn how to handle dangerous situations
Try the Women’s Self-Defense Boston Program

Go ahead, reschedule your brunch plans next Saturday: It could save your life. Hosted at the Krav Maga Yashir studio in Charlestown, this free program runs once a week from 10 to 11 a.m. to help women better understand violent situations and how they evolve. Based on the Situation Effective Protection System (SEPS), the session includes 40 minutes of physical instruction, so you can work on the moves you’ll need to get out of a scary encounter.

200 Terminal St., Charlestown, 339-224-8005, womensselfdefenseboston.com.

To be fierce in any situation
Try Krav Maga

Want to know how Gal Gadot developed her superhuman strength and physique for Wonder Woman? It wasn’t endless hours lifting weights; it was perfecting her skills in krav maga, an easy-to-learn defense style adopted by the Israeli military in the 1940s. At America’s Best Defense Martial Arts Academy in Waltham, classes incorporate facets of boxing, wrestling, aikido, judo, and karate, paired with endurance exercises designed to help you protect yourself even when fatigued.

130 Lexington St., Waltham, 781-642-1700, abdwaltham.com.

To punch above your weight class
Try Brazilian Jiujitsu

Founded on the concept that a smaller, weaker person can prevail against a bigger, stronger opponent, Brazilian jiujitsu (BJJ) is all about technique—and taking the fight to the ground. The BJJ sessions at Combat Sports Boston, perfect for all experience levels, blend explosive movements with agility and flexibility training, ensuring that students don’t advance to the next level until they master each move.

261 Friend St., Boston, 617-720-2422, combatsportsboston.com.