Aikido is the "loving protection of all beings," in the words of Morihei Ueshiba, who created the martial-arts style. Although it sometimes incorporates wooden weapons, at its heart, aikido seeks to act as a replacement for violence. Greg O'Connor, founder and chief instructor at Aikido Centers of New Jersey, brings Ueshiba's tenets to his students, who have included children and seniors, as well as members of the New Jersey State Police, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Secret Service. O'Connor and more than 40 other instructors teach students self-defense tactics that redirect attacks, as well as more advanced methods that include wooden sword and staff training and aikido's dramatic falls and rolls.
With over 40 years of experience in boxing, fitness, and martial arts, Victor Lashley has mastered methods of training to help students reach their goals. With his fellow instructors, they lead boot camp classes, kickboxing, cross training, martial arts, and personal training sessions. As a former corrections officer, his’s career often immersed him in life-threatening situations, putting his self-defense skills to the test outside the safe confines of a gym. To empower others with the ability to fight back while getting fit, he now teaches myriad forms of martial arts at ICAT Triple Threat Training Center. He trains patrons in MMA grappling, Kali, and his own method Defensive Concepts, which blends kicking and close-range striking techniques from muay thai, Kali, and boxing into a fast-paced striking art that earned Lashley a state certification as a Defensive Tactics Instructor. With the aid of his fellow instructors, he helms boot-camp classes and one-on-one personal-training sessions that devour calories. Nala—a boxer-breed pooch—serves as the gym's mascot, security guard, and head instructor of drool-based self-defense techniques.
As a member of Black Belt Schools International, Karate 4 Kidz of Newtown offers kids, adults, and teens the latest in self-defense techniques and exercise science. Chief instructor Jay Cruz has been training internationally in martial arts for more than 25 years and uses his knowledge and experience to help build students' confidence and physical abilities. Cruz specializes in muay thai and other types of kickboxing, and he also offers resistance-band classes, karate for kids as young as 3, and sessions designed for special-needs children.
Festival of Fears sends tingles down spines with its host of fright actors and spooky settings. This haunted festival combines two attractions, Village and the Psycho-Path into one evening of spooks. Evil clowns, zombies, and chainsaw-wielding maniacs torment all those who dare to wander down the twisted paths. If you survive the frights, stick around the VE Club for food, music, and games, with proceeds going toward the Greater Philadelphia Cancer Support Community.
Master Tom McGonigal has traveled the world, training and competing in multiple martial arts disciplines. But a martialist is nothing if he doesn't pass on his knowledge, so today, he teaches both kids and adults at Tom McGonigal's MMA. Students take classes such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and cardio kickboxing, and training focuses on respect, discipline, and self defense.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers 4 months old?12 years old with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents magazine.