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Best of Toronto

The Best Martial Arts in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / April 6, 2011

Martial Arts TorontoThe best martial arts clubs in Toronto will render you well-equipped to deal with a situation where you're "stuck in an elevator with someone going berserk," or "minding your own business in a crowded bar when a couple of hooligans jump you," as some facilities advertise.

While there are many different types of martial arts--everything from Jiu-Jitsu, to Karate, to Muay Thai and Krav Maga--solid instruction can make all the difference. Plus, the Art of Eight Limbs is best expressed when you know how to use them properly (and which eight limbs we're talking about).

Here is the list of the best places for martial arts in Toronto.

Top photos by Jon J Lewis and Neesa R on Flickr and the Siam No. 1 Muy Thai Facebook page

Toronto BJJ

Toronto BJJ

Toronto BJJ is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts academy. It offers BJJ, MMA, and Muay Thai kickboxing classes, as well as many women-only classes, from its massive facility on Bloor between Christie and Ossington. And if holding the top spot on our list doesn't convince you to check it out, surely this message from UFC Champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua will. More »

TKMT Academy

TKMT Academy

The Toronto Kickboxing and Muay Thai Academy prides itself on its friendliness. As its mandate states, "The traditional 'meathead' and 'thug' attitudes that characterize other gyms are not welcomed here." Take that, meatheads. Still, its classes are quite rigorous, offering various levels of kickboxing, competitive fighting, and Muay Boran. More »

Northern Karate Martial Arts Club

Northern Karate Martial Arts Club

Northern Karate Martial Arts Club has 10 locations throughout the GTA. It offers a Quick Start, Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced program, as well as free workshops called "Bully Proof" to help kids and parents deal with bullying. Kids can also start young, and enroll in the KinderKarate program at just three years old. More »

Revolution MMA

Revolution MMA

Boasting itself as Toronto's largest MMA facility, Revolution MMA is also sleek and modern inside, offering classes to both adults and kids. At 401 and Leslie (and another location in Thornhill), Revolution has classes in Mixed Martial Arts, boxing, Krav Maga, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and more. More »

Grant Brothers MMA

Grant Brothers MMA

Owners Otis and Howard Grant once served as an Olympian, former Canadian Lightweight Champion (Howard), Canadian Middleweight Champion, and WBO Middleweight Champion of the World (Otis). So much for "those who can't, teach." Grant Brothers MMA offers youth, pro training, and regular membership classes from its facility on Dufferin south of Steeles. More »

Axe Capoeira

Axe Capoeira

Axe Capoeira on St. Clair west of Dufferin teaches classes in Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art. Youth, introductory, beginner, and mixed classes are available, as well as dance classes, boot camp, gymnastics, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Private classes are also offered every Sunday. More »



This FIGHTCLUB isn't underground. With an exclusive focus on self-defense with no competition training or belt system, FIGHTCLUB on Donlands Avenue south of O'Connor offers Martial Arts classes for both kids and adults. Private lessons, special workshops, and fitness classes are also available. More »

Siam No. 1 Muay Thai

Siam No. 1 Muay Thai

Siam No. 1 Muay Thai claims to be the first and largest Muay Thai school in Canada (better talk to Revolution about that one) with its 11,000 square foot facility. Siam No. 1 offers a variety of different classes for various ages and skill levels, as well as personal training (and a women's boot camp, though only available at its Woodbridge location for now). More »



huskylord / April 6, 2011 at 02:02 pm
What? Extreme Couture?
Ricky C / April 6, 2011 at 02:11 pm
Major Omission - Ultimate Martial Arts in Scarborough and Brampton is a long standing Muay Thai and MMA gym. They have trained NUMEROUS UFC fighters. One of the first true Muay Thai places in the city.
musashi / April 6, 2011 at 02:20 pm
Should also mention the various Kendo clubs like Toronto Kendo Club, JCCC, and Etobicoke Kendo Club. Kendo is more of a niche martial art, but we are lucky to have great dedicated instructors and a great community. You can join one club and practice at the others to suit your schedule. Most are non profits and are very will be getting the real deal at any of these clubs.
Matt EH / April 6, 2011 at 02:27 pm
A lot of these places are very "franchisey" and lack the one on one coaching. I go to a little known place called Synergy Martial Arts on Moore and Bayview and it's a smaller gym but with a great kickboxing/tae kwon do/muay thai instructor. I think it's great that there are SO many choices in Toronto though for all levels of experience.
bluescreen / April 6, 2011 at 02:30 pm
What about Kombat Arts in Mississauga, it's the best all around martial arts training facility in the city
huskylord / April 6, 2011 at 02:45 pm
user-pic be fair, the title is best in "Toronto"..not the GTA
bluescreen replying to a comment from huskylord / April 6, 2011 at 02:58 pm
well if tkmt is number two, I guess the martial arts clubs in "Toronto" aren't that great
Someone replying to a comment from huskylord / April 6, 2011 at 03:03 pm
Extreme Couture got closed a while ago. I heard it wasn't the cleanest location either.
Inferno / April 6, 2011 at 03:03 pm
Best Martial arts in Toronto...thats really stretching it far.
Where are the Goju Ryu, Shotokan, Taekwondo, Kungfu, Tai Chi gyms?
pja / April 6, 2011 at 03:04 pm
I'm glad my cousin's school (Northern) was mentioned. Maybe I'm a little biased, but I think Southside Muay-Thai should be up there as well.
Kent / April 6, 2011 at 03:14 pm
GTA sucks.
YourArtSucks / April 6, 2011 at 03:20 pm
These BlogTO "Best of" lists are based on user feedback. If you're in a roid induced rage because your club isn't on the list, blame yourself for not nominating it in the first place, meathead.

Oh and by the way, I can kick all of your asses!
Snowman / April 6, 2011 at 03:32 pm

The concept of the girl fighting the guy in the top right picture kinda turns me on for some reason. She looks like she's ready to kick some ass! *humina humina* :)
huskylord replying to a comment from Someone / April 6, 2011 at 03:39 pm
Wow, had no idea they closed down
Researchthisstuff / April 6, 2011 at 03:41 pm
Northern's a bit of a McDojo, from personal experience. Multi coloured uniforms and crests, "black belt clubs" and whatnot...most importantly 5 and 6 year old children holding black belts. I mean come on.
Rick / April 6, 2011 at 04:29 pm
I went to Northern Karate for years about a decade ago. It's a good school with instructors who care, but I agree with the "McDojo" assessment that was mentioned above. It's more of a club to get in shape and develop self-esteem, but not one that will actually teach you how to fight anyone.

I had a black belt there and I'm far from tough or in great shape.
Alex / April 6, 2011 at 05:22 pm
Northern Karate?? Really??? They're not even registered with Karate Ontario. I suggest going to Karate Ontario website and have a look at the competition results to see which clubs hold top spots -- this is where the best instructors are.
TB / April 6, 2011 at 06:22 pm
As some one who has trained in martial arts for 15 years, both on a casual level, and competitive level, it is important to know your goals for training before you even step into a school. Looking at stats and rankings means nothing if you don't know what you want. Many people who train only want to better themselves and don't care about the competitive world. Some people enjoy the nature of competition and use that as a measure for how they are progressing. Some schools focus on individual training and betterment and do not take place in most tournaments. If your goals are to train and feel good, while learning to defend yourself, the best advice anyone can give you, is GO TO THE SCHOOLS AND TRY A CLASS!!!!!! You will figure out pretty quickly if that is the school for you. The biggest factor in a school is the teacher. There is no such thing as a bad art, ONLY BAD TEACHERS. Remember, just because a school has great rankings, it doesn't mean it is good. I can not stress enough the importance of physically being in the school before making any decisions. And remember if you are signing up your children it is just as if not more important to feel the head instructor is a suitable teacher for your children.

Great article by the way.
agentsmith replying to a comment from huskylord / April 6, 2011 at 06:49 pm
Xtreme Couture is NOT closed, and is definitely the largest and highest-profile MMA/BJJ/muay thai gym in the GTA. Grant Brothers and Revolution are probably the next best. Toronto BJJ was one of the first and best, but my understanding is that they've kinda fallen behind in recent years, and they tend to focus on BJJ.
matts / April 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm
Folks, could you suggest a good place for recreational but quality martial arts (for someone in their early 40's)? I'd love to get back to it but not in a class of guys who are serious about it - I'd just get in their way. Thanks in advance.
matts replying to a comment from Matt EH / April 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm
Hey, is that muay thai guy Ed? If so, I trained with him a while back and he was great!
Sensei / April 7, 2011 at 08:27 am
Researchthisstuff, Rick and Alex: word. Northern Karate is a full-on McDojo. Their instructors happen to also be MBAs: all the better to conduct their high pressure sales tactics...And they're on commission. And they're totally pseudo style of advancement is just to placate the parents who pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars. "I respect myself!" "I respect my parents!" "I respect my sensei!" soooo lame.
ig / April 7, 2011 at 09:07 am
Our kids attend Salvosa BJJ on Progress in Scarborough and have for many years. Even though we've moved across town, we still go out there, excellent, professional, courteous environment, and the kids have just thrived being there. I was very surprised not to see it on your list.
Ninjavitis / April 7, 2011 at 07:50 pm
Nice to see Siam.No1 made it on the list. Great instructors (Clifton Brown!), great atmosphere, great attitudes. Ajahn Suchart is an all-round inspiring guy.
bill / April 7, 2011 at 10:09 pm
haha at Toronto BJJ being number one and at xtreme couture not even being on the list. Couture has the best facility in the city. I've been a member at toronto bjj, couture and tkmt. Tkmt is awesome thai and very helpful and friendly staff. Couture is an insane facility but a little big and cold and less friendly. Toronto bjj is a lousy facility with very unfriendly staff. I sparred lightly with one of the staff who works the desk once and he tried to take my head off the whole time and was a huge dick and rude to me afterward. I can't strongly enough dissuade people from using their sub par service and facilities.
the lemur replying to a comment from bill / April 8, 2011 at 09:36 am
A couple of the Toronto BJJ guys used to live in my area. Neighbours from hell.
mel replying to a comment from Ninjavitis / April 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm
Siam No.1 and Ajahn S. is great but Clifton has a clip on TV and all of a sudden has a chip on his shoulder.....not who he used to be
Bruno / April 9, 2011 at 01:41 pm
I always wanted to try out a martial arts, but seeing pictures of completely hairless men and women sparring barefoot (I have a very light dusting of black hair on my feet) would make me extremely self-conscious as I'm a touch hairy. Like, do these guys have testosterone? I don't want to have to do extensive manscaping just to try out a martial art.
Graeham / April 13, 2011 at 05:03 pm
Hey man, I have had to no such manscaping. I have hair on my feet and so does everyone else in the classes I attend. At Synergy Martial Arts everyone is welcome and no one would judge you or make you feel self conscious. And yes, I have testosterone. You shouldn't have anything to feel ashamed of and I would strongly advise that if you wanted to try out martial arts then just try it. It's one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done.
Mix Martial Art / April 14, 2011 at 05:12 am
Capoeira is not familiar with us but because of the Capoeira team in our country. It was slowly known by people.
Simon / April 18, 2011 at 11:19 am
Fighting Arts Collective on Dupont and Ossington deserves a mention. Not only do they do traditional martial arts but they've also got classes on everything from wrestling to swordsmanship. Their teachers really do know their stuff, host regular demonstrations and really go out of their way to encourage your participation in everything.

They also bring in trainers from other countries which is just incredible to experience.
Jennifer / April 18, 2011 at 06:26 pm
Hmm, tough list to come up with since there are so many martial arts out there, but an interesting read (especially the comments). Glad to read about the capoeira place; I've been itching to try capoeira for a few years now. Surprised there wasn't any mention of aikido so far though! I know MMA and BJJ are super popular now, but I'd be interested to hear people's recommendations for aikido, traditional jiu jitsu (i.e. not Brazilian), and judo. I train in jiu jitsu at the Kageyama dojo near Bloor and Lansdowne-- small place tucked away, but there's also a really neat ninjitsu school with an uchi-deshi program.

Thoughts on aikido/jiu jitsu/judo in Toronto?
musashi / April 21, 2011 at 09:15 am
Try the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC)...I know they do Judo and Aikido, as well as Kendo and Naginata (japanese pole arm).
Boris / May 11, 2011 at 10:47 am
Wow, lots of haters on the comments... But then again, a "top ten" list is bound to generate debate and controversy.

I agree with TB wholeheartedly. TRY A SCHOOL before criticizing. Hearsay is just that and should not formulate judgement.

I'm really glad to see Fight-Club on the list. But then I admit that I'm biased, I go there and the teacher Emmanuel is second to none!
JH / May 20, 2011 at 04:02 pm
Tkmt has friendly staff and cardio aspect is good, but the technique is absolutely horrible compared to other gyms in the city.
name replying to a comment from JH / May 22, 2011 at 02:11 am
what's an example of a place with better technique for mauy thai listed or otherwise? out of curiosity
myopinion / July 8, 2011 at 03:49 pm
I used to train at Kombat Arts in Mississauga. I now live in TO, so cannot commute that far everyday. It's awesome. You can train as hardcore or as easy as you like (or not).

I tried out Toronto BJJ's kickboxing class. Pretty cool Chute Boxe class, although the basement was a s**t hole compared to the upstairs. I wouldn't go barefoot in the changeroom. If I didn't fear a fungal infection because of the changeroom, and lived a bit closer, I'd try a couple of months with them (the kickboxing class was really great- with the Brazilian Chute Boxe instructor).

Xtreme couture has a pretty s**t schedule unless you don't mind waiting for a 7pm/8pm/9pm class. I have a life other than martial arts, so that doesn't work. Although, the facility is great. I've checked out some kicboxing classes there that were pretty lame. That said, it wasn't the Homminick and Hordecki classes (which I imagine would be better).

freedom / July 28, 2011 at 12:23 am
I think this list is based on family atmposhere like martial arts gyms in Toronto. Most mma gyms in Toronto seem to be alot more business and team orineted. schools like Toronto BJJ, Siam, TKMKT and Krudar are very well family influenced atmospehre
some guy / August 7, 2011 at 02:41 am
from my experience...i hated revolution and xtreme couture, they keep pushing sales on me and come up with random fees. no focus on building an experienced team there just want your money and dont care enough to focus on any students. i've tried and liked ultimate martial arts, lin martial arts, and torontobjj. dont really have a favorite tho
Born To Kill / October 27, 2011 at 07:23 pm
What are the hardcore Marital Arts\Boxing gyms? I have trained before in gyms with women and they are a waste of time and money. Call me a meathead, thug, it doesn't matter. I prefer a gym, no women, no kids, not family oriented. Where are the gyms for real men and real men only?
Joe / December 8, 2011 at 09:57 am
How is Ultimate Martial Arts not on this list? They have one of the best Muay Thai pros in all of North America (Joseph Valtellini) as well as one of best Amateur and upcoming pro fighters in Troy Sheridan.
martialartist / December 22, 2011 at 09:54 pm
I have trained at both of the top two schools and I can honestly say, that I have received better instruction and atmosphere at Lanna MMA, and it's a shame that they are not on the list.
Joe / December 26, 2011 at 01:43 pm
Why not to try a Kyokushin Karate Dojo? I’II be challenging…
Soquete / January 26, 2012 at 02:21 pm
Sinhá Bahia Has Capoeira classes in Scarborough, @ United Martial ARts Canada. they also Have Kempo, MMA. MMA striking and Matador BJJ
JL / February 7, 2012 at 03:46 pm
Lots of schools do a good job. Old School Muay Thai on Richmond (near University) runs good classes with experienced instructors AND also supports community youth through a not-for-profit program. I get to get healthy and know my membership supports good opportunities for kids who would otherwise have little to do after school.
John / March 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm
Theirs a lot of good schools around. I've been training at Takedown MMA for a while and i have to say, I love it. I feel that Im excelling at a great rate in there BJJ program.
Louis replying to a comment from Joe / March 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm
hehehehehe, Joe you are wright, why not trying a Kyokushin Dojo? People think that Kyokushin hurts...and you know what? That really hurts, OSU!
Lester replying to a comment from Soquete / March 22, 2012 at 09:57 am
This is probably the only place in the east end of town that offers Capoeira. Not that I don't mind travelling west or downtown, but this place is also a great gym and place to learn. Highly recommended.
Go Getter / March 24, 2012 at 09:01 am
Eagle Hapkido at Pape and Danforth is the best club . Grand Master Hwang In Shik is a 10th Dan in Hapkido . Look him up on Wikepidea or World Hapkido Association under Cong Jae . He has KI energy you would not believe . He was in all the Jackie Chan , Bruce Lee movies . Look him up. Trust me.
bjjrankings / March 25, 2012 at 06:58 pm
If anybody is interested in choosing a bjj club based on how many of its members compete in tournaments and how well they do, the club rankings are available at
Martial Arts GTA / March 25, 2012 at 07:19 pm
I would highly recommend Authentic Training Centre in Markham. This is because they have the best in BJJ, former Olympian from Taekwondo and National Champions, Sensei Ryusuke from Japan teaching Karate, Aikido and Japanese style Jujutsu. And to top it all, they have a strength and conditioning programs to help martial artist with their desired art develop the muscles needed to produce great results. They are at 7676 Woodbine Ave. Unit 9. Markham!!!
Ching / April 27, 2012 at 05:23 pm
I am looking for a mix martial arts for women not so intense but just a regular class to toned my body any there any location here in Sheppard and Yonge or Bathurst and Yonge...I cant search it please help
devlin replying to a comment from Ching / May 2, 2012 at 08:30 pm
Check out openmat - great school, super friendly, gals welcome. located neat yonge and bloor.
John replying to a comment from huskylord / July 3, 2012 at 03:17 pm
Does anyone have an opinion on CenterLine Martial Arts on the Danforth at Coxwell?
National / August 5, 2012 at 01:27 am
Toronto BJJ is in no way the best gym in Toronto. They are the shadiest, smallest place I have ever seen. I tried to go here and all I got was a trainer trying to sell me some suppliments that where just pyramid scheme garbage.

These tools cannot even keep appointments or call people back.

BlogTo fails if this is their best of list
Wes / August 8, 2012 at 05:44 pm
Honestly, if you want to see the caliber of a school, take a look at the tournaments its fighters go to and the rankings/championships they claim. Also go to their gyms and participate in a trial class. I'm also a little bit surprised that Southside Muay Thai didn't show up on the list nor did Lin Martial Arts for its BJJ
jdog / August 11, 2012 at 02:32 am
extreme cotoures is awsome! Huge variety and everyone is very friendly. Does to anyone know the best place in toronto to learn krav maga? Just heard its the best fighting tacti and can never find anything on it. Perhaps top ten best if possible. Preferably etobicoke but no worries already asking a lot!
Jesse / August 13, 2012 at 11:08 pm
TKMT markets itself as attitude free and friendly but some of its instructors where I train, the uptown location, are far from attitude free. The owner needs to put his foot down IMO. All the instructors need to be like Mo, then the place would be as advertised.
David / August 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm
For kids, in the west end, Etobicoke Dojo. Combines karate and BJJ with a strong emphasis on self defence. Definitely not a McDojo, each kid grades for their belt and sensei knows the strengths and weakness of every student. HE pushes just enough and not too much. I can't say enough about how good it has been for my 3 kids.

For adults, Professor Shah (I think at Innercity MMA now). World champion in karate, a pioneer in BJJ and a great teacher. Oh, and he started Zombie House! OUSSSSSS!
Awsomasim / August 31, 2012 at 07:46 pm
STAY AWAY from these SCAMMERS!!! My experience with Ultimate Martial Arts was TERRIBLE!! These guys post nice looking pictures and offer cheap deals to attract people. Once you sign cancel the membership you need to give a minimum of 2 months notice. Even after giving the notice they don't cancel your membership and 6 months later send a letter from collection agency asking you for money. The collection agency says you don't have any proof that you cancelled the you have to pay the full amount for the past 6 months!! They are asking me $288 for nothing! Stay away from these SCAMMERS!! this is how they make money!
Adam / September 3, 2012 at 03:47 am
What about Kombat Arts in Mississauga, it's the best all around martial arts training facility in the city
oki / September 14, 2012 at 11:12 am
This post should be titles, best mma/muay thai not best martial arts
joseph ingram / September 22, 2012 at 10:32 am
what about the twin dragon kick boxing clubs they have
fantastic workouts-with mike and martin there is a club
close to steels and young in north york it around the
back of convenience store in basement--if you can handle
two extreme hard workouts
Moody / September 24, 2012 at 02:39 pm
TKMT was ok I enjoyed it , sadly the mow roof was to much for me to continue as I am 6'6".

Toronto BJJ I tried twice. First time I went they wanted me running and rolling never doing martial arts before that turned me off. a few years later I wanted to give it another go. Same thing except this time one of the instructors tried to sell me some pyramid nutrition products. Was also supposed to arrange a hour with me to get comfortable with rolling, never bothered to call.

I am headed tomorrow to try out Xtreme Couture I hope its better then the other places.
Peter / September 25, 2012 at 07:25 am
I think they over looked Danforth Karate Academy! at Danforth Karate academy you not just another number! they are committed and dedicated to teaching quality Shotokan Karate, un like the many other "Martial Arts Schools" that teach singing/dancing/chanting and cheerleading and are looking to soak you for every dollar they can!

check them out

Danforth Karate Academy
1036 Pape ave
east york, on, M4K 3W2
(416) 461-7362
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm
I have trained at both of the top two schools and I can honestly say, that I have received better instruction and atmosphere at Lanna MMA, and it's a shame that they are not on the list.
Adon / October 24, 2012 at 03:52 pm
Although I understand this article is really old, Warrior Muay Thai should be up on this list.
Waleed replying to a comment from matts / November 25, 2012 at 02:46 am
Hey Matts. Go attend a class at Black Dragon Self-Defence. 5094 Dundas St W in Etobicoke
Waleed replying to a comment from Moody / November 25, 2012 at 02:48 am
Hi Moody. I like Black Dragon Self-Defence. 647.932.8552
5094 Dundas St W, Etobicoke, ON
Kevin replying to a comment from jdog / November 26, 2012 at 06:48 am
for Toronto, it's definitely Krav Maga Toronto at Dundas and Dovercourt. The instructors there are great, they even make people do trial classes before allowing people to sign up. Probably the only self defence/mma gym that I have been to that wasn't trying to get me signed up for a membership before I even had a chance to check out a class. If you google Krav Maga Toronto, they come up as the first result i'm pretty sure if you are looking for their site.

either way, it's a free class, so why wouldn't you check it out
Xman / November 30, 2012 at 08:17 pm
Anyone have an opinion on Lin martial arts teaching/learning system? It seems really slow but maybe the turtle wins the race?
Jonesy / December 4, 2012 at 11:51 pm
This list is ridiculous, if you ask me. There are a couple decent schools on that list, but in no way is that the top 10 of Toronto! We have some amazing talent for martial arts in this city, but this list doesn't show it.

@Xman - I've been training for almost a decade and have trained at several of the schools on that list, as well as several not on the list. I've also trained at Lin, and in regards to your question... their curriculum is the BEST and most organized I've ever seen! For that matter, how many other places do you even see a PROPER learning system at all? Most of the other places I trained at (including almost all of the ones on that top 10 list) are just random when it comes to teaching. Whatever the instructor feels like teaching you that day, is what you get. There's no rhyme or reason.
The system at Lin Martial Arts is proven.. their guys are beasts. Not quite sure why you think that it's slow, because in my experience, people advance there so much faster than in other places. Good balance of technical skill and a great workout. Instructors are amazing, everyone is professional, and it's CLEAN! Yes, a martial arts gym is clean. I'd definitely recommend it there.
Jonesy / December 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm
Oh, and I've also tried out Buckley MMA out in Oakville for people way out in the west end.... and Cabbagetown boxing downtown on the east end (Cabbagetown). Pretty good boxing gym. Old school. Good coaches.
Anywhere central though, I'd definitely say Lin Martial Arts. No competition.
Dave replying to a comment from Xman / December 5, 2012 at 01:13 pm
cmac was good. Trained there a couple years ago.
Jin34 / December 5, 2012 at 02:55 pm
There's plenty of good traditional martial arts schools in the city. Surprised the list omits all the old school places like Jung Ko TKD and other TKD, Aikido, Karate schools.
senpai / December 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm
I tried NKS after reading this article and I didn't like it. Too many kids wearing black belts, very short classes (1 hour), lots of emphasis on behavior or "self-improvement" vs real athletic skills, everything watered down and seemingly so easy.... I understand that it can be good for families or for people who value fitness over fighting. By saying this I mean no disrespect to anyone, but I found it very far from my previous MA experience and after some research, I decided to enroll elsewhere (and in a different system). I doubt it's the best club you could recommend.
martial arts / March 13, 2013 at 03:06 am
I find martial arts fascinating and enjoy the camaraderie.
Tina replying to a comment from Inferno / April 7, 2013 at 02:07 pm
Check out Bell's Martial Arts on the east end, for tai chi, and Goju-Ryu style karate:
Carmen / April 14, 2013 at 02:32 pm
Hi everyone
Does anyone know anything about Contact Kicks Martial Arts? They teach karate kyokushin, kickboxing and jiu-jitsu close to York University?
TruthHurts / May 10, 2013 at 08:07 pm
As far as Muay Thai goes many are missing off this list:

SouthSide Muay Thai
York Muay Thai
Brampton Muay Thai
Warrior Muay Thai
Old School Muay Thai
Ultimate Muay Thai

The list would be better served it was the 10 WORST Martial Arts Clubs. That would be easier...

The fact remains that Ontario had some of the BEST Muay Thai schools in the country. It really comes down to WHAT it is that you are looking for.

Some gyms are known for their positive and friendly vibe, some are known for their amateur fighters, some known for their pro's, some known for the teaching style, some known for the price or promo's.

Point is WHATEVER YOU WANT IN TORONTO MARTIAL ARTS, YOU CAN FIND. Just be patient, and try a bunch of places out.

Also, we need to stop discrediting each other. It will get us nowhere. Sure one guy might have hated Tor BJJ or TKMT, but I bet there is another person who has made that place their family members and long time home. It's all about how your vibe mixes with theirs.

All of the gyms named in my list and the blog are close friends of mine, each one is skilled in their own specific way.

Happy Shopping Martial Artists!
Peter / June 22, 2013 at 04:22 pm
They over looked Danforth Karate Academy.

At Danforth karate academy we teach real shotokan karate, un like some school that miss adversities saying they teach "martial arts" when the teach cheer leading (no offense to cheerleader's but its not a martial art)

Some of these schools lead you do believe that there the norm running around chanting and cheering sayings mantras. Robbing its student/Parents/guardians blind in the process.

Don't get me wrong we need to make a living teaching Karate or what ever martial art it may be! But there's no need to over inflate prices and miss lead people.

What ever happened to humility and modesty, integrity and honor ?

Our over all goal is yes to help everyone achieve a black belt, but also that our student can defend them selves and know how to avoid certified situations

Un like these frauds in the industry that there student could not fight there way out of a wet paper bag!
Peter replying to a comment from Peter / June 22, 2013 at 04:24 pm
Cretin not certified
ghassan / August 1, 2013 at 04:42 pm
Guys is there a good place to learn Hapkido in Toronto? and how much would it cost?
Big Lew replying to a comment from ghassan / August 2, 2013 at 09:23 pm
Eagle Hapkido at pape and danforth. Read the comments above from go getter . Grand master Hwang In Shik is the best. 10th Dan world hapkido association. Look him up on Wikipedia or on Eagle Hapkido website. Also there is CFH Studio at St Clair and Bathurst . Look up website .
Oren B / August 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm
I just did a BJJ class at REAL MMA & FITNESS. Misha is a great instructor and an absolute pro. Not only did I learn some really cool technique but the workout was one of the best I've ever done. The drills we ran through for warm up were a ton of fun too.

Definitely going to go back there!
Jon wall / September 6, 2013 at 12:48 am
UNDISPUTED MARTIAL ARTS! They're Muay Thai Program is one of the best! Kru Justin builds Champions!
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john / September 21, 2013 at 07:23 am
just the fact that northern is on this list lets me know this is bogus...the best martial arts schools have all gone private and do not teach publicly because most of the traditional masters are sick of all the MMA crap. Not saying mma is crap just saying most of the schools opening and teaching it are...there are a few good ones. If you think this list is accurate then you are a small fish in a small pond.
STFUjohn / October 2, 2013 at 01:37 am
traditional masters?? GTFO with that nonsense. Teaching private to keep their kung fu secrets away from the public.... more like exposed by MMA as being pretty useless. Gone privatE?? You mean gone broke.

lop333 / October 24, 2013 at 10:47 am
Hey I live in high park area. Used to do jiujitsu for many years but had to stop for work. Looking for good place to practise, hard working but fun environment. not macho or too competitive. any suugestions?
doit!! / November 1, 2013 at 02:31 pm
High Park?? Toronto BJJ is prob the closest legit BJJ place to you. Huge schedule, check it out.
john / November 5, 2013 at 01:28 pm
hey STFUjohn,
just because you havn't been exposed to it don't be a guessing you are involved in MMA and probably under 30...good luck....but I have seen both and understand the difference. Its a shame mma has turned the martial arts world into the tits and ass of the industry.
STFUJOHN / November 21, 2013 at 01:56 am
you sound like a bitter old fool John. Keep training your katas with the "old masters" who wont even open to the public. You are living in a kung fu movie, i bet you can death touch ppl by now. Now stfu and leave the ppl looking for real instruction alone. Nobody wants to hear about your old masters who dont actually teach cuz they are so badass they look down on everybody else. Eat a fatty and call me daddy.
john replying to a comment from STFUJOHN / November 25, 2013 at 01:45 pm
no, not bitter, just experienced enough to know the difference...its so easy to get a rise out of individuals such as yourself... its great comedy actually. Would love to show you the difference in person, and in a very non threatening format, so we don't hurt each other; but I bet you wouldn't go for that. No bs death touch or endless kata practice like you mentioned...just another way to do things you may not be aware of is all....its very easy to be an expert in the online world...but we can fix that...perhaps you have the desire to know for sure if you are actually right or just talking smack...tell me who you are and where you train....and maybe we could arrange a friendly meeting where we could re educate each other? Please do not respond with rude comments it just simply solidifies my past comments about the type of person you may be.
STFUjohn / November 30, 2013 at 09:53 pm
i have no desire to know if im right or not. The truth is in the fight and i have 4 pro fights to my name. I just find it funny when some old school guys talk about traditional masters and other nonsense because they are mad MMA type training has rendered their martial arts useless on their own.

Now if you really want to prove something come by Tri-Star any time you want and just ask anybody to spare. You will get a life lesson in humility.
STFUjohn / November 30, 2013 at 09:55 pm
or better yet next time i visit toronto ill let you know where im going to train on here and you can pass by.
Alex / December 2, 2013 at 05:34 pm
user-pic - Judo & Sambo school, Thornhill
john replying to a comment from STFUjohn / December 18, 2013 at 06:43 pm

Just for the record I am neither mad nor sad. However, I understand why you are so angry and sad're talking about a ring fight and I was talking about's quite different...most guys like you who train pure mma would probably break your hand or nail in the street (like boxers do) from lack of conditioning and always working with padding.
4 pro fights...thats great! I train a lot of guys at that level....I spent 30 years training with the likes of Master Hwang on Danforth, Quai wong in scarborough, Vladimir Vasiliev, Wally Jay, Ed Parker, and Danny Inosanto....if you have never heard of them please stop reading now and never respond back because we are from different planets. By the way you can pop in to see any of these guys dojos in toronto, (not wally jay or Ed because they have since passed away, and danny is in the states), and YOU will feel the difference. Your attempts to get a rise out of me imply you may be a TROLL online, but if you are not...I would be more than happy to meet up and test our skills...but not in a cage with rules and pads....I am talking about a more realistic approach. Plus I think "Spar" is spelt that way not your way....but I will "spare" you the humiliation and suggest, maybe, you never go to those places and keep living in your bubble. Looking forward to your next post and your slew of insults and opinions. Cheers buddy!
ps- most mma guys that do visit and are arrogant don't do so well, if you know what i mean.
lol / December 19, 2013 at 04:01 am
look out we have a badass ready for "war" here!!! And most MMA guys would just just put you on your ass and beat the crap outta you "realistically". I know Hapkido/Karate/Systema guys are suddenly amazing grapplers but yea, the world has been there before. Hell, I bet most BJJ purple belts would hand you your ass nevermind a pro fighter.

But i doubt that pro fighter is real, too bad. Would be funny to see 30 years of Hapkido/Karate get twarted easily and embarrassingly.
john replying to a comment from lol / December 20, 2013 at 04:22 pm

LOL, Now you just bored me with your cliche "bjj is the best" attitude. There are only so many ways to take someone down pal. In the ring with rules takedowns are useful, but on the street it's quite easily defended against. What are you going to do, try to take me down like we're grappling in a cage....a good trained street fighter would take your ear off. Or you would get a knee to the face when you're down on one knee, or a forearm/elbow/hammerfist to the back of your head or neck(all banned moves in mma ironically, and a bad day for you). Your comments imply the rank of a beginner (not a pro fighter)with very little worldly experience and your "pseudo- logic" is just confusing . If you are so upset at my "traditional masters" comment i'm sorry but this is how we refer to traditional instructors who don't do mma. You also assumed I didn't have any grappling knowledge. I referenced Wally Jay who was a Jujitsu master and the creator of small circle jujitsu. He used to say-" on the street we never shoot or grab a leg to takedown because the person we are fighting may have friends, and we do not want to be on the ground if that is the case." Think I'll take his advice, not yours. It's not the style you amateur, it's the individual. I have spent my life training and have seen many wonderful things in all styles of the martial arts. If you do some research you will see that the principles are the same in all of them...the approach is different. But you just keep on the path you are on and you will never know this.
D / January 16, 2014 at 02:04 am
Krudar is opening it's second location > 1335 Lawrence Avenue East (the old fight scholar gym) Don Mills and Lawrence. Come check it out...opening February 2014!
B / January 26, 2014 at 02:59 pm
It's impossible to create a list of the best martial arts gyms - entirely too subjective a topic! Anyone interested in martial arts/MMA might consider training under Prof Shah, whom operates his own club at Innercity MMA (Dundas near Spadina) and has a number of affiliate clubs. He is an 8th dan black belt and former national champion in karate and holds a third-degree black belt in BJJ. Prof Shah is a kind, respectful and highly skilled teacher and he is known and respected in the BJJ world as a leader - when Rener Gracie decided to hold a seminar in Toronto, he partnered with Prof Shah.
MMA90 replying to a comment from Researchthisstuff / January 29, 2014 at 01:57 pm
Absolutely. Martial arts is a journey of the mind and body. One can only fully experience martial arts at a high level of training; otherwise, it's like a babysitting program for children.
MasterYoda replying to a comment from john / February 11, 2014 at 09:42 pm
It seems John not live up to teachings of great master. He get in self-righteous verbal fights with internet trolls. Wise old man troll himself. Self-righteousness not sign of humility. John meathead like alleged pro fighter? John old man not prepared to accept change because grand old master has eternal truths? That not humility neither.
amazing!! / February 21, 2014 at 05:35 pm
funny to see this guy John get trolled so hard and lose his cool. straight up owned, i guess those traditional masters didnt teach him how to be humble or keep his cool.
Gerst replying to a comment from TruthHurts / March 20, 2014 at 07:09 pm
is there any particular MT gym you would recommend? I trial a lot of Siam No 1 affiliates, as well as had opportunities to attend Ajahn's classes. I'm currently curious about SouthSide MT as I think their technique is very fluid. Do you have any comments on SS MT?
kfus / April 2, 2014 at 10:22 am
try out Bamboo Kung Fu
Jim / April 14, 2014 at 05:00 pm
the list is good....for knowing which club to STAY THE F Away from.

the top three on this list are disasters.Grants is a gangsters paradise.

WTF is wrong with this list? You listed the worst clubs in Toronto. Add Lin Martial Arts and you have the worst clubs in Canada,
ire / April 23, 2014 at 03:42 pm
Let's talk about KUNG FU. I study at an authentic Shaolin school with a legit lineage. Some info here: Shaolin Temple Quanfa Institute (STQI Toronto), the downtown Toronto school for the traditional and authentic Shaolin and Chinese arts was founded in the fall of 2011 by Shi Chang Dao, a 35th Generation Shaolin Disciple of 34th Generation Shaolin Monk Master Shi Guo Song. Its aim is to improve the mental and physical health of individuals through the 1,500 years of cultivated wisdom. Our school offers Shaolin classes and instruction for adults and children in Shaolin Kung Fu including hand and weapon taolu forms, Qi Gong Ba Duan Jin, Sanda Chinese Boxing, Shaolin Meditation, and Shaolin Chan (Zen) philosophy. Chinese cultural classes include Er Hu Chinese Fiddle, Dizi Chinese Bamboo Flute, Spoken Mandarin, and workshops for Chinese Calligraphy, Chinese Painting, and Kung Fu Tea Ceremony. Our school also offers other cultural workshops such as Sanskrit, OM Choir, and Yoga.

The downtown Toronto school branch is also connected with the STQI Markham and STQI Laurentides schools, as well as the Canadian registered charity called Shaolin Luohan Temple, all of which are overseen by Master Shi Guo Song. Our Shaolin network offers its students and members the benefits of inter-school gatherings at major events, competitions, and tournaments throughout the year. STQI Toronto hosts several annual public events such as the Shaolin Retreat Camping in the summer and the downtown Summer Camp for children.

Shaolin Temple Quanfa Institute (STQI) was founded near the original Shaolin Temple in China in 1996 by Master Shi Guo Song. Its aim is to spread traditional Shaolin culture and martial arts. In just a few years it grew to over 1,000 active students.

We’re located at 198B Spadina Avenue, about 20 metres north of Queen Street and west side of Spadina Ave. You can contact us by telephone at 647-724-8004 or by e-mail:
Joe / May 8, 2014 at 05:21 pm
Wrongs martial arts Kingston road and midland.
Aaron / May 28, 2014 at 11:50 am
I've been training over a decade, and have experience training at most of these places, or with the people who run them. I have to say, most places are either pure business, no care about the students... or they are just a pure fighter school, where if you're not a fighter, you're just cannon fodder to be thrown as sacrifices to the fighters. Most of these places don't have a real emphasis on real learning.
Out of all the places I've trained at, I've gotta say, Lin Martial Arts is by far the best. They are super structured and have a system that can help beginners develop, just as much as they can strengthen their competitors. It's professional, it's very clean (not like a grungy basement like many places). I'd definitely recommend Lin if you're looking for a quality place where the instructors actually care about your learning.
Braden / May 28, 2014 at 01:24 pm
As a student of the Martial Arts for a number of years, and having trained at a few of these locations; I am a little puzzled by this list. There are some top academies that are not present on this list and some questionable ones that are. Without singling any out, a few of the BJJ/MMA schools on this list do not focus on beginner development the same way they do on their more advanced students; you feel like you are being thrown to the wolves and they see how you fair. This can be quite demoralizing for someone green to the martial arts, and can really deter them from trying it again. What is also confusing is why Northern Karate and Axe-Capoeira have achieved a spot on this list in lieu of some world class academies that the GTA has to offer.
Phillip / May 29, 2014 at 01:43 pm
How was this list compiled? What's the legitimacy of it? It's also very outdated, it seems... but just doesn't make sense how they develop these rankings... did the author actually train at each of these schools, as well as all the others in the Toronto area, in order to determine "the best"?
Milly / May 29, 2014 at 01:46 pm
Internet is full of trollers, almost nothing that is said on here, including the list itself, can be believed.
John / June 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm
So, this list is 3 years old. Guaranteed it's not the same if it was done again today. Majority of these places on the list should not be on there.
Jet / June 26, 2014 at 01:15 am
If you're looking for a gym try UNDISPUTED MMA. The best gyms start from the top! Kru Justin and Coach Archie are dedicated teachers who care for the growth of all types of students from the beginner to advanced level. They're gym should be in the top 10 without a doubt!

127 Sunrise Ave unit 3
terry / July 9, 2014 at 07:01 pm
we need an updated list
Juan / July 11, 2014 at 08:12 am
Legends MMA is a fully equipped Mixed Martial Arts studio, only one of its kind in Brampton, offering programs for men, women and kids. Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Savate, MMA and Gym facilities and programs are available for martial art enthusiasts. Special classes for kids and women are held each week, at the Brampton address. Legends MMA offers separate belt ranking systems for kids and adults for systematic learning.
Scott / July 25, 2014 at 11:22 am
This article is old and this school didn't exist at the time, but I would HIGHLY recommend Contact Kicks MMA, teaching Kyokushin Karate, BJJ and Kickboxing (K-1 style).
Mike / September 30, 2014 at 02:44 pm
Takedown MMA is my home away from away home! I love it everyone is amazing and helpful. we all help each other excel. check it out
Paul Delgado Olguin / October 11, 2014 at 06:28 pm
Undisputed is has a very complete program. People are friendly and the instructors put a lot of attention to make sure you get the best out of your workout. Coaches Justin and Archie are great. I highly recommend this gym.

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