These martial art and self-defence classes will teach you new skills, provide a full-body workout and give you the confidence and strength to protect yourself.
Even though we’re lucky enough to live in a city where walking home at night doesn’t feel threatening, every person (man or woman!) should know how to defend themself. Not only is self-defence a valuable skill, it is also a lot of fun to learn and is a great way to boost your fitness and confidence. Would you rather learn a martial-arts style of defence? A military or MMA style? What about one that requires very little memorisation or special moves? Or perhaps something that combines it all? We’ve compiled some styles and suggestions to get you started.
Editor’s Note: The situation in Hong Kong regarding closures and restrictions on opening hours due to the coronavirus is constantly evolving so please make sure you follow the latest government advice. Many businesses are required to make changes per government guidelines and other businesses are taking extra precautions. It is a good idea to check with the business directly to confirm what restrictions they need to make and also what precautions they are taking that you need to know about before your visit.
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Hybrid offers personal training, MMA and group fitness classes. As a premier training facility located in Entertainment Building, Central, it ties together quality and convenience. Hybrid’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people around the world and inspire them to truly believe that – with the right guidance, support, and attitude – anything is possible when it comes to their wellbeing. As Hong Kong’s largest MMA facility (and one of the most comprehensive), it offers classes and personal training in Brazilian JiuJitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing, MMA and Wrestling. It also offers beginner-friendly classes, taught by their top-level coaching team (which includes black belts in BJJ, as well as professional Muay Thai and MMA fighters).
Sassy Perk: As a bonus to all Sassy readers, Hybrid is offering a free trial group session, as well as a free health assessment. Simply get in touch and let them know it’s your first class!
Fees: $350 Drop In, but classes go as low as $220 depending on your package. For pricing information or further enquiries, contact Hybrid at [email protected]. For the full class schedule, click here.
Located in the heart of Central, SHBJJ is a modern, minimalist gym providing Hong Kongers some of the highest levels of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and self-defence the city has to offer. It recently launched a Women’s-Only Intro Program for women looking to learn how to neutralise common attacks such as being pinned on the ground or being pulled against their will by a larger opponent. Beginners will also learn fundamental techniques in Jiu-Jitsu (with and without the Gi/Kimono Uniform), as well as movement in a fun and high-energy workout setting. Each class is 60-minutes and taught in a welcoming way by resident black-belt instructor Harry. If you’re unsure about learning BJJ for fear of having no previous experience, then the SHBJJ Women’s Program is perfect for you. Spots are limited to just 8 women on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30-8:30pm – make sure to sign up soon!
Sassy Perk: As a bonus for Sassy readers, your first class is completely free, so you can go get a sense of the gym with no strings attached.
Mindful Wing Chun
Established in 2008, Mindful Wing Chun is a HK-based studio that strives to help each member develop strong foundations and release excessive tension. By equipping students with the skills needed to find physical and mental balance, the studio helps create long term change, ultimately, encouraging each student to reach their full potential. Offering Wing Chun Kung Fu and Mindful movement training, Mindful Wing Chun stays true to its mission of bringing awareness to movement practices in an accessible and approachable way. With a combined experience of more than 50 years in the industry between all the Mindful Wing Chun’s instructors, you’ll be sure to get instruction that is perfect for beginners and experts alike. Mindful Wing Chun’s General Wing Chun class is recommended for grasping the basics of Wing Chun and self-defence. If you’re looking to develop a pilates practice to complement your Kung Fu, it’s worth checking out Mindful Wing Chun’s sister company, Mindful Pilates. Both gyms work to take you on a journey of mindfulness through movement.
Sassy Perk: As a bonus, all Sassy readers get 20% off 6-month memberships for the whole of 2020.
Mixed Martial Arts & Self-Defence (MMA)
Don’t care so much about styles or want a chance to try a few different ones before you decide? Or what about some want some basic fitness and strength to go with your training? Here a few places that balance it all:
Chris Collins Action Plus
Want to know how to fight with a weapon? Chris Collins Action Plus offers programs that work with both sticks and knives. Additionally, trained staff also provide Wing Chun, Boxing, BJJ courses to up your self-defence game including the rarely offered Pekiti-Tirsia, a Filipino martial arts style.
Phoenix Fight Club
At Phoenix Fight Club each member is made to feel like a part of a team. Phoenix Fight Club specialises in a variety of fighting styles that lend themselves to self-defence, such as Muay Thai and BJJ, while also offering great HIIT classes to ramp up your fitness. Phoenix Fight Club offers free trial classes as well as a Meetup group that focuses on self-defence/grappling aspects of BJJ that takes place every Saturday afternoon.
As one of the largest BJJ, self-defence and martial arts fitness clubs in Hong Kong Island, there’s definitely something for everyone at GSF Academy. Classes are taught by professional trainers with more than 10 years of coaching experience, so the last thing you’ll have to worry about is sprinting an ankle due to bad posture or practice.
Fees/Membership: Click here for the full course schedule.
Impakt Hong Kong
For those looking to really train those muscles and pick up some self-defence skills, Impakt Hong Kong might just be the gym for you. From Kyokushin Karate to Muay Thai, get ready to push your limits with the gym’s friendly coaches. While the workout session might be sweatier than expected, you’ll definitely walk out feeling amazed by what your body can do.
Fees/Membership: Basic monthly memberships, drop-in classes, and private’s training memberships are available. Contact Impakt Hong Kong Fu for details.
Krav Maga is a military self-defence style that was developed for the Israeli Defence Forces. It’s a popular form of self-defence as it combines a variety of techniques from boxing, wrestling, aikido, judo and karate, as well as realistic fight scenarios.
IKMF Krav Maga Hong Kong
Offering a “Stay Away” program that boasts about having the best self-defence program for women, Krav Maga Hong Kong focuses on the specific scenarios women may have to face in a scary encounter, such as how to use minimal force to deal with attackers and what to do if you are sexually harassed or robbed. The program is open to women and girls over the age of 14 and runs every Wednesday evening.
How much: $150 for a trial class, $180 for drop-ins, $1,100 for an intro four-class pack, $2,750 for eight-class pack.
Every Wednesday from 8pm to 9pm
Similar to Krav Maga in that Systema was designed for the Red Army in Russia, this approach focuses on natural defensive reactions and movements meant for unpredictable situations. The difference here is you are not required to memorise or recall special techniques or movements, but, rather, you work on your already existing natural reactions and instincts.
Systema Hong Kong
“The best way to defend against men? Train with them!” Systema Hong Kong’s program emphasises on working with your current level of fitness and then building on it and your capabilities to fend off attackers. Systema Hong Kong features a comfortable environment to build up your confidence and skills.
How much: $300 for drop-ins, $1,200 for a six-class pack (valid for one month), $1,500 for eight-class pack (valid for three months). Click here for the full course schedule.
Systema Vasiliev Hong Kong
Want to train outside? Systema Vasiliev has classes that take place once a week in the outdoor areas of Kowloon. Antonio Arancio, who has been practicing a variety of martial arts since he was 15, runs the affordable Systema program. While beginners are welcome, it is also advised that newcomers do some research on the program prior to attending to get the most out of the class.
How much: $120 for a trial class, $500 for a one-month pass.
Schedule and Locations:
Every Saturday from 3pm to 5pm at Kowloon Park, Banyan Court, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.
Every Wednesday from 6:30pm to 8pm, at the open space outside Boundary Street Sports Centre No.1, Prince Edward, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Keen to learn Kung Fu and self-defence? Look into the Wing Chun style. Wing Chun was developed in Southern China and is a simplified form of Kung Fu focusing on self-defence.
Marc Guyon Kung Fu
Marc Guyon’s Wing Chun has taken this martial art from the sporting arena to the streets and teaches students how to use Wing Chun in real-life situations. The course also borrows techniques from a few other martial arts, making for a practical and straight-forward approach to self-defence. The course runs on Wednesday evenings.
How much: $250 for drop-ins, $2,000 for a one-month pass, private training sessions start at $600. Click here for the full course schedule.
IWKA Kung Fu Hong Kong
Offering beginner courses, IWKA Kung Fu illustrates a fun, fit and effective way to learn Kung Fu for self-defence.
How much: Contact IWKA Kung Fu for details.
IWKA Kung Fu Hong Kong, 285 Des Voeux Road, Unit 2B, Kam Hong Building, Sheung Wan, 2851 7755, [email protected], www.kungfuhongkong.com.hk
Yip Man Martial Art Association
The Yip Man Martial Art Association was set up with Yip Man and his associates in the 1970s and it has been a thriving, effective and affordable way to learn the art of Wing Chun ever since.
How much: $500 for a one-month pass (includes two classes a week), private lessons available from $500 per hour.
Yip Man Martial Art Association (Alpha House), Unit A, 5/F, Alpha House, 27 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2723 2306
With the popularity of MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has quickly become a popular fitness sport as well as a form of self-defence. It focuses on grappling and ground fighting, both of which are real-life situations for women when being attacked.
This studio specializes in BJJ and MMA and offers a women-only course that will whip you into shape while teaching you self-defence through BJJ. Espada even has options for those who love BJJ enough to want to compete!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 25, October 2018 by Danielle Roberts and was updated in May, 2020 by Lydia Ching.