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Finding a Little Bruce Lee in All of Us

A slew of Bruce Lee types, embracing both men and women, could soon be making their way through the streets of New York--but with an added physical dimension; expertise in rough, tough and often savage street fighting.  In brief, those bad guys--terrorists, robbers, rapists or whomever--could unwittingly run afoul of the fighting prowess of the renowned martial arts warrior Lee the next time they try to do their thing. It' all part of a new class--called Street Fighting--that New York Health & Racquet Club has recently added to its fall schedule.
It is patterned after Lee's Oriental fighting style, Jeet Kune Do, and teaches what the club describes as a street-effective self-defense system that centers on:
  • Kicking
  • Punching
  • Trapping (immobilizing an opponent's limb)
  • Grappling (defending yourself if you are knocked to the ground)
The class is taught by 41-year old Dino Orfanos, who has been studying the martial arts since he was 13. The new class is viewed as an extension of physical fitness economics, created by the club to increase membership appeal as a means of further boosting the bottom line. Initiated a few weeks ago, the Street Fighting class, given four times a week and running between 45 minutes and an hour, is already attracting some New York folks who seem read to take on the bad guys, according to Mr. Orfanos. The class is enticing between 5 and 10 people during its three day sessions and between 12 and 20 people during its evening course. The attendees, by and large, are between their early 20's and late 40's, and about a third of them are women. "We're just starting to build up and we see more people coming in all the time," says Mr. Orfanos. Included in the course is instruction in knife fighting namely what you should do if someone attacks you with a knife. Apparently, there are more self-defense addicts than you might suspect.
Mr. Orfanos, who also provides private lessons at $60 an hour, gives between 15 and 22 of them a week. "I can't do any more, I'm just packed," he says. Mr. Orfanos, who also operates a martial arts school in Little Neck, N.Y., feels it's only a matter of time before his lessons at the Health & Racquet Club attract a goodly number of Big Apple folk in their mid to late 50's, as well, since this age group, he tells me, is well represented in his school classes. "Today, you have to be able to defend yourself at all ages, to give it all you've got if someone puts you in harm's way, and being in your 50's doesn't make you an invalid," he says. Mr. Orfanos believes that terrorism, especially 9/11, sniper shootings in Maryland, Virginia, and the Washington D.C., area, talk of Al Qaeda cells springing up in America and the treat or war are all part of the fear factor that could heighten the appeal of the Street Fighting class. But the major spur, he feels, is still the frequency of crime in the city. "I think more people are waking up to the fact that it makes no sense to be defenseless, while you're at risk," he says.

What's the best defense if someone pulls a knife on you? "Run as fast as you can," Mr. Orfanos says.

I agree. It strikes me as far more preferable to the Health & Racquet Club's instruction in knife fighting, as good as it may be.

And it a robber points a gun at you? What then?

"Don't think twice about it," Mr. Orfanos says. Just be obedient and give him everything you've got. It makes much more sense than being murdered." Sounds right to me, but I've never seen Bruce Lee do that.

Self Defense Training

No one deserves to be assaulted. No one wants to be assaulted. But unfortunately, as anyone who reads the news can attest, the frequency of unmitigated violence is too high to ignore. Whether we want to recognize it or not, many of us will be...

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My son has been training at New York Martial Arts Academy for a few months and absolutely loves it! The students learn to focus, follow directions and coordination all while having fun with other kids their age! The children also have discussions about topics such as discipline, politeness, respect, etc. If you are looking for a martial arts school that respects all students and works one to one with them to help them improve their form, look no further. I highly recommend New York Martial Arts Academy! Phyllis Trilivas | Queens Phyllis Trilivas | Queens's Rating
My son has been attending classes here for two years and I only have the best to say! He has learned so much and loves going each time which is a testament to the amazing coaches and staff. We will be going for years to come! Dimitra Stellatos | Queens Dimitra Stellatos | Queens's Rating
I am truly honored to have my daughter attend here, I am satisfied with the teaching here, the instructors teach with passion, the place is welcoming, I love the bully prevention, the defense moves, and the confidence she is gaining. My daughter enjoys coming here, I highly recommend! Thank you guys and keep up the great work???????????????? popping up | Brooklyn popping up | Brooklyn's Rating
My daughter and I couldn’t be happier with our experience at NY Martial Arts Academy. She is treated with respect and also shown how to treat others with respect along with learning important self defence which I’m sure will lead to boosted confidence in the long run. Such a great place for kids to attend! Kimberly Ross | Brooklyn Kimberly Ross | Brooklyn's Rating
My son has been attending NYMAA for over a 1.5 year and overall he has gained more confidence, discipline, and love his classes. We had the pleasure of working with many of their Sifus and they are all amazing. Special thanks to Sifu Chuck, Sara, Carlos, James and everyone else that my son has worked with. We started doing private classes and then switched to group classes. Great place to have your child gained discipline and learned martial arts. Marcia S | Astoria Marcia S | Astoria's Rating
I am extremely pleased with instructors Sifu James, Sifu Carlos and Sifu Dino. My son has participated in their classes for the past 3 months now. have noticed a great change in my son's school work and how motivated he is to come to class! They are the best of the best!!!!! Would recommend for all ages! Víctor Santamaria | Astoria Víctor Santamaria | Astoria's Rating
My daughter loves it here, and I can see improvements in her character. Lenny Lam | Astoria Lenny Lam | Astoria's Rating
I've been training here for almost 3 years now and it has allowed me to meet great people and form strong bonds with the people I train with. It's a great environment to learn martial arts because not only are you surrounded by good people, you also have a lot of fun training as the instructors tend to crack jokes throughout the classes. Great place get in a hard training session, and a real confidence booster as you will be pushed to your limits and be encouraged by the instructors and your teammates to continue despite being tired. Great instructors that know their stuff and will explain why we do certain techniques or drills a certain way. More importantly than that, it's great for personal growth as it also tends to highlight the more philosophical aspect of Bruce Lee and martial arts as a whole. mcgregor conner | Queens mcgregor conner | Queens's Rating
I have been a student at New York Martial Arts Academy for about 10 years and it is such an amazing opportunity to be a part of this school! All of the instructors are very knowledgeable and are always there to help you. You can tell that all of the instructors love what they do and they want to see us become the best version of ourselves, both on and off the training floor. The instructors and students at New York Martial Arts Academy have created such a welcoming and fun environment for anyone to learn martial arts in. I would definitely recommend training at New York Martial Arts Academy! Angela Gallo | Queens Angela Gallo | Queens's Rating
When I was looking for a martial arts to try, for the first time ever, I was very nervous especially starting at the age of 30 and not having had any prior experience. Starting from day one I felt comfortable with the trainer who was amazingly patient, had a positive attitude and didn’t make me feel self conscience about my inability to land a half decent kick. But after attending for many months I started to get the hang of it. The instructors here as well as my fellow students who I have the privilege to train with are top notch. The culture is amazing, you will never feel out of place and the teachers here are absolutely amazing, they will provide you with all the tools you need and all the attention you need to make sure you succeed and achieve your goals. I Highly recommend you check this place out! Dan B | Queens Dan B | Queens's Rating
I've been a martial arts practitioner for 12 years now, and have trained in different countries around the world. New York Martial Arts Academy has, by far, the best facilities of any school I've been a member of. The instruction is top tier as well. I haven't met an instructor here that doesn't have at least 10 years of experience. You can tell that they all really love what they do. Whether your goal is to get in shape and have some fun, fight in a cage, or defend yourself in the street, NYMAA will be able to accommodate.

One of the things that most impressed me about the school was the camaraderie between students. You won't find cliques here. Advanced students are encouraged to help newer members, and I've never seen anyone be disrespectful or intentionally try to hurt anyone else.

If you want to learn a skill that helps your confidence, increases your fitness, allows you to be able to defend yourself, and make some good friends at the same time, then I would de initely recommend checking out NYMAA.
eassae | Queens eassae | Queens's Rating
Growing up, I have always admired Bruce Lee's unique fighting style, so I was extremely happy when I finally found a Martial Arts Academy that based their instruction on jeet kune do. I have tried several different academies, and I can proudly say that none of them met the exceptional experience that I received from NYMAA. In here, the instructors, staff, and even students form a team based on mutual respect, creating a great atmosphere. I also love how the instructors pride themselves in teaching their students a new way of life rather than just self-defense. I would highly recommend this place to anyone who is interested in seeking new opportunities to better their life. Elke Xenophontos | Queens Elke Xenophontos | Queens's Rating
Joining was the best decision I've ever made. It's an amazing workout that I genuinely look forward to everyday and I have never felt better.

I highly recommend the NYMAA to anyone looking to take martial arts for any reason.
Richard Boehm | Long Island Richard Boehm | Long Island's Rating