Lifestyle

Vietnamese martial arts arrive in East ATL

Back in the day, martial arts classes were awesome: you could gain confidence, learn how to defend yourself from bullies, and most importantly, totally get McDonald's on the days Billy's lovably negligent mom picked you up. Super-sizing that experience, Sung Ming Shu Dojo

Literally meaning "tree of life" (!!), Sung Ming Shu's a new martial arts badassery with floating, impact-absorbing flooring and a weapons wall covered in sabers, swords, and staffs, offering fitness and self-defense training meshed with ethical codes of conduct through a program called Cuong Nhu (you just read that wrong, it's "kung new"), which means "hard-soft" to natives of Vietnam, who're clearly uncomfortable having "the talk" with their doctors. There're seven sub-styles of training, including beginner-friendly Shotokan karate, which teaches a series of stances and kicks; Aikido for smoothly avoiding contact and redirecting an attacker's motions without seriously injuring said goon; and a close-combat Chinese technique that teaches rapid-fire "chain" punches & kicks known as Wing Chun, which you'll also be doing when everybody has fun tonight. Advanced Kata classes help you practice/perfect movements while working up to balls-out sparring using Judo for grappling & throwing, U.S.-style boxing, and Vietnamese Vovinam, which is based on fighting armed opponents with kicks, elbow blows, swords, and even folding fans, so you can hold your own in back-alley geisha fights

Work your way up to brown belt, and you'll get a key to drop by and practice 24/7; to get a taste of that kind of skill, hit the grand opening to see masters from international Cuong Nhu dojos lead demonstration classes, whose combination of high-contact moves and mind-bending flexibility will almost certainly make you Grimace.