The sounds of flailing feet and fists correctly striking padded opponents pervade Absolute Martial Arts’ 3,600-square-foot facility, where students learn how to lose weight, tone up, and defend themselves simultaneously. Atop a large mat that the staff disinfects daily, professional instructors lead structured muay-thai kickboxing classes that slowly introduce exercisers to the fundamentals of the 1,000-year-old sport, which is similar to kickboxing and dissimilar to napping. Many of the trainers, including Thai-native Master Toddy, boast years of extensive training and practice, pushing students beyond their perceived limits but always keeping their safety in mind. It also offers Brazilian jiu jitsu and mixed-martial-arts classes to allow students a chance to explore new forms or augment their muay-thai practice.
Pole Position Raceway’s Formula EK20 Pro Karts rumble over the track powered by 18-horsepower motors (nearly triple that of average gas karts), which reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour without filling the temperature-controlled arenas with fumes.
After the first Pole Position Raceway opened in Corona, California, it soon spawned 10 locations stretching to the Atlantic. Technicians maintain the fleet via handheld computers, and top drivers are regularly sent out to evaluate karts’ handling and reading comprehension. During races, up to 12 guests compete in contests that last about 10 minutes.
Heyde Sewing Machine Company needs every inch of its 5,500 feet of retail space: shelves groan under the weight of more than 5,000 bolds of cloth, and in addition to sewing notions and quilting supplies, the store stocks machines from brands such as Brother and Pfaff. This wealth of fabric and needlework necessities sets the stage for classes on subjects ranging from basic sewing-machine operation to advanced undertakings such as quilting or navigating embroidery-lettering software. In addition to friendly instructors, the staff includes skilled technicians ready to repair sewing machines of any make or model and sharpen shears dulled by snipping obnoxious neighbors’ power lines. The store’s encouraging embroidery and quilting clubs, as well as its library of patterns, make for a creatively fertile atmosphere that brings crafters back again and again.
The Concordia Gymnastics Society (a.k.a. The Concordia Turners) was founded in 1875, with the original hall located at the corner of 13th & Arsenal in the Concordia Park area of South St. Louis. Now located at 6432 Gravois. We live by the belief of Sound Mind in a Sound Body.
Jennifer O'Faoláin-Bartley has been dancing as long as she can remember. “I was itty bitty when I started,” she says. “Just four.” The young Jennifer began learning the fast-stepping footwork of her heritage at the urging of her Irish grandparents, and once she started, much like an obsession with capybaras, she never stopped. Today, certified by the An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha, Jennifer helms The O'Faolain Academy of Irish Dance, where she shares her love of jigs and reels with students whose ambitions range from just having fun to joining the ranks of competitive foot flickers. The academy welcomes pupils old enough to buy lotto tickets or young enough to eat them, teaching feet of all ages how to move rhythmically while also building self-discipline and self-esteem.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.