The Detroit area is no stranger to fighting and martial arts. For more than 100 years, the city has produced such champions as Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Thomas “The Motor City Hitman” Hearns and Tom “Boom Boom” Johnson. While boxing has lost its popularity since the 1990s, Detroit continues to provide top-notch training opportunities in the areas of mixed martial arts and martial arts. Whether it’s to learn valuable self-defense skills, become more physically fit or learn how to become a highly skilled fighter, these studios are among the best the motor city has to offer.

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Mash Gym
26575 W. 8 Mile Rd.
Redford, MI 48240
(888) 462-7449

Price: first class free
Hours: Mon to Fri – 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Touted as one of the Detroit area’s best mixed martial arts facilities, this studio offers members a full-size MMA cage, a boxing ring and more than 3,000-square-feet of weight training and cardiovascular equipment. In addition to these top-notch facilities, Mash Gym provides a high-caliber staff, complete with professional fighters and former champions in MMA, boxing, muay Thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu and judo. Classes are available for children as well as men and women of all ages, including a large base of working professionals who are more than 30 years old. Prospective members are encouraged to come try their first class on the house to experience all Mash has to offer free of obligation.

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Cooper’s Gym
16849 W. Warren Ave.
Detroit, MI 48228
(313) 581-5085

Price: prices vary by membership option
Hours: Sun – 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Mon, Wed, Fri – 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Tues – 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Thurs, Sat – 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m

Cooper’s Gym has been serving Metro Detroit for more than 30 years. The gym is home to the Detroit Institute of Martial Arts, White Collar Boxing, the Irish Boxing Club and Cooper’s Kickboxing and Muay Thai Gym. Having produced a number of champion fighters and boxers, this gym is known for having its old-school charm based on a solid work ethic, sweat and team work. In addition to martial arts classes for men, women and children of all experience levels, Cooper’s also offers a number of courses in defensive tactical training for those who are interested in learning more about self-defense.

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Warrior Way Martial Arts Alliance 
3100 Old Farm Ln # 1
Commerce Twp, MI 48390
(248) 960-4884

Price: contact for pricing
Hours: Mon to Sat per class schedule or by appointment
Click here for a class schedule

Known throughout the Midwest as one of the best places to learn Brazilian jiu jitsu, this studio has a championship stable of instructors, many of whom trained under the tutelage of the legendary Gracie family. The Warrior Way also specializes in muay Thai and children’s programs, including a bully defense program that focuses on teaching children six character traits, including courage, health, perseverance, respect, responsibility and tolerance.

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Detroit Kung Fu Academy
1353 Fisher Freeway
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 282-3915

Price: $75 to $85 per month
Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri – 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.; 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat – 12 a.m. to 3 p.m

The Detroit Kung Fu Academy is one of very few studios in the Detroit area to offer instruction in true kung fu, specializing in the Chinese martial art of ving tsun. Including instruction in nearly 10 forms of ving tsun, the studio also helps students focus on having a peaceful mind, body and spirit while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Students of all skill levels are welcome and those interested in learning more are encouraged to attend a semi-private beginner’s class on Tuesdays for $20, which also includes a uniform T-shirt.

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Troy Black Belt Academy

5939 John R Rd.
Troy, MI 48085
(248) 828-4455

Price: $99 for six weeks (introductory special)
Hours: Mon to Sat per class schedule

Serving the Detroit area since 1985, the Troy Black Belt Academy specializes in the self-defense form of karate known as kenpo. In addition to teaching the basic elements of martial arts, classes at the Troy Black Belt Academy also provide an aerobic workout, helping students build cardiovascular endurance and muscle tone. While offering instruction for students of all ages and experience levels, the studio is well-known for its children’s programs. One of its most popular programs, a comprehensive after-school class that includes transportation from the child’s school to the studio and homework assistance from a certified teacher, is followed by a period of physical fitness activities and structured martial arts instruction. Prospective members are encouraged to schedule a free, no obligation, one-on-one introductory lesson to get a better feel for all this studio has to offer.

Jim is a native “Michigander” and avid automotive enthusiast. An ASE certified Master Automobile Technician turned engineer and freelance writer, Jim’s articles reflect a passion for Metropolitan Detroit and the many things the region has to offer. His work can be found at