Atlanta Kick, established in 1994, provides a trusted resource for children and adults striving to be fit, confident, strong, and reach their full potential.
- Create a physically and emotionally safe and comfortable place
- Treat people with respect and dignity
- Be honest with ourselves and others
- Show integrity in everything we do
- Practice empathy and understanding because feelings matter
- Create raving fans
- Offer quality services that transforms lives
- Staff with warm, friendly, positive, and fun coaches and instructors
- Embrace diversity and be sensitive to individual differences
- Strive for continual growth and development
- Practice professionalism
- Provide comfortable facilities that are clean and efficient
- Cultivate a non-intimidating environment
- American Freestyle Karate
- Age-specific programming
- Family-friendly environment
Adult Karate, Fitness, and Crossfit
- Experienced, highly-qualified professional trainers
- Comfortable, judgement-free environment
- Spacious, clean, and organized facility
- Ample parking
Our History and Founding Leadership Team
Atlanta Kick began in 1993 as a martial arts school in Atlanta. At that time, it was called Rick Drew American Karate Academy. There were two locations and, one was on Peachtree St. in the heart of Buckhead. Rick Drew, who was the chief instructor and the head of the academy was well-known in the Atlanta martial arts community. The school offered American Freestyle Karate for kids and adults and Martial Arts Conditioning classes for adults. The membership at the school when Jeff and Heidi began as students was only about 15 people.
The name and ownership of the school changed in 1997 when Heidi Ziegele and Jeff Thompson, instructors at the school, purchased the business from Rick Drew.
In 1996, Heidi Ziegele began Atlanta’s first Fitness Kickboxing program. The program took off a few years later when the Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo workouts became popularized.
As the school grew, new fitness programs were added to help members get into “fighting shape”. Those programs were circuit workouts, a running program, and several hybrids. One of those programs — first called “Bikini Boot Camp” — became a big success.
The Operation Boot Camp Story
It all started in 2000, when Jeff and Heidi developed a new fitness program for their members.
Inspired by a fellow instructor who was commenting that he was in better shape during military basic training, they decided to create a fitness boot camp for the general public. The program was simple: 30-days of accountability, intense workouts, and their usual flair for fun and camaraderie.
After helping thousands of Atlantans get in the best shape of their lives, Jeff and Heidi decided to turn license their system in 2005
Then, in 2007, they turned the program into a franchise system and asked Lauren Lorenzo to become part of the ownership team and named her Director of Training. The first Operation Boot Camp franchise was sold in Knoxville, TN, and the system has been growing ever since.
Now, with locations coast-to coast, Operation Boot Camp is the largest fitness boot camp franchise in the nation. Helping clients create measurable results through positive changes in fitness and eating habits sets Operation Boot Camp apart from any other fitness program.
Atlanta Kick Relocates
In 2005, a broken water main damaged our building and Atlanta Kick was forced to relocate to Miami Circle in Buckhead. In 2007, the general manager of the school, Ali Massa, became part of the ownership team of Atlanta Kick. Atlanta Kick grew to be the biggest martial arts school in the city.
Over the years, Ali has helped implement the new rotating curriculum for all karate students, age-specific programs for children, and added a 3-year-old program for karate. Ali is an incredible asset to our team.
AK CrossFit Opens
In January 2010, Jeff, Heidi and Ali decided to open a CrossFit affiliate. They felt that adding CrossFit to the offerings would be an excellent complement to existing programs and serve a need that was unmet in the fitness community.By adding their personal style and expertise with fitness beginners, they believe that the AK CrossFit program delivers results to clients who wish to become stronger, leaner, and may enjoy a bit of competition in their workout.