The worst fight I’ve ever been in was a hair-pulling match with my little sister circa 1999, but that’s no reason I shouldn’t know how to throw a mean right hook! So I signed up for Sucker Punch, a mixed martial arts–based class at Crunch Gym in New York City. The hour-long session, created by instructor Christy Nacinovich, is a mix of traditional Japanese jujitsu, Brazilian Capoeira, and street fighting—and it’s a serious arm and leg workout!

After learning proper form and technique for upper cuts, roundhouse kicks, and flicks (Christy made sure we felt comfortable with the motions by making us do up to 50 reps of each!), we put all the moves together in rapid succession, like a choreographed fight. My friend Ashley joined me, and during the second half of the class, we donned mitts and sparred—jabbing and kicking our "opponent" in an attempt to knock each other down. We walked away with some minor bruises (thank goodness we’re close!) and the mix of soreness and elation that comes with a fun, challenging new workout.

—Danielle McNally, SHAPE associate fitness editor

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