Originally developed in France and named art du deplacement, modern-day parkour teaches students how to embrace the full range of natural human movement while imparting a greater sense of control and self-discipline. Urban Movement's parkour classes cater to adults and children as young as 7, giving and give them the skills they need to navigate through natural or manmade areas while overcoming physical obstacles with graceful, fluid, and efficient movements. With their emphasis on running, jumping, climbing, rolling, and more, these indoor and outdoor classes help students develop greater strength, stamina, and balance, as well as mental fortitude and self-confidence. Urban Movement welcomes attendees of virtually any skill and fitness level, creating a safe and supportive environment where people can learn to appreciate, and master the art of parkour.
Some swim coaches can only tout their credentials and experiences, but director Susie Collins can prove the results of her labor. One of her pupils is working toward swimming in the Olympics, and a thrilled parent recently praised her ease and dedication in teaching their special-needs son how to swim. All the academy's instructors receive training in water safety, stroke curriculum, and child development directly from Collins, who also teaches games and techniques to motivate even the most stubborn inflatable alligator. Students learn at their own pace, following Collins's stage-by-stage method that leads toward individual swimming goals, whether students want to compete professionally or use their butterfly stroke to blend in at the local dolphin tank.
Sixth-degree black belt Joshua Hong took his first tae kwon do class at the age of 4. Nowadays, at Eternal Martial Arts, he and his staff teach tae kwon do to four-year-olds. Their knowledge and passion for the Korean martial art shows during their Little Ninja classes, their kids' summer camps, and their martial-arts-themed birthday parties, which feature cakes cut by knife-hand strikes.
The programs aren't reserved for youngsters only, though. The facility also features classes for teens and adults, including high-intensity fitness classes.
When Henry Harvey went to the University of Houston in 1975, he realized the dance moves he'd picked up at high school in Fort Worth were more valuable than he thought. In fact, he gave lessons to new people in the area who wanted to fit in on the dance floor. Years later, his wife decided they should start dancing together. "I went to dance class and found out they were doing the same things I was 10 years before," he said. Taking stock of his management abilities and previous dance experience, he realized he had the opportunity to be successful, so he brushed up his skills and founded High Steppers Dance Troupe LLC in 2007.
At locations throughout the area, Harvey and his team of instructors teach the hot urban Houston two-step, as well as swing-out dancing and line dancing. The dances are set to cool urban R&B tunes and neo-soul grooves and help participants release the seductive strut or smooth swagger they've kept bottled up. Instead of duct taping themselves to a good dancer in the club and letting them do all the work, students can be confident in their ability to finally know what they're doing on the dance floor.
Harvey claims that his students, many of who are aged 40 and older, come not only for the improved skills that come from dancing for two hours, but also for the atmosphere, which he calls "very upbeat and very festive." His dance classes can also act as a stress reliever after a long day at work. "They get into dance class and they're rejuvenated," Harvey says.
In addition to dance lessons, the group takes charter buses on regional trips and hosts two to three showcases per year, where students regale audiences with a synchronized dance routine. At their social dances, a DJ spins tunes as students get the chance to put their lessons into practice and leave behind their days of doing the worm shyly on the dance-floor sidelines.
Brazilian jujitsu could be considered the black sheep of the martial-arts family. Instead of relying on raw force and strength like many disciplines, Brazilian jujitsu uses leverage and precise movements to land blows and defeat opponents. That’s why students at Gracie Barra’s 300+ locations worldwide come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, Brazilian jujitsu often inspires entire families—mom, dad, kids, and security blankets with faces drawn on them—to get in shape and learn the art of self-defense. Its main focus is grappling on the ground, an experience made easier by the new Westchase location’s 2,000 square feet of zebra floor mats. Students learn the basics during a Fundamentals Program, tackle varied techniques at mixed martial arts, or get on the fast track to victory at Future Champions. No matter the class, students are taught by highly trained instructors.
Relying upon more than 25 years of experience in the tennis industry, the coaches at Tennis Champs helps students earn mastery over both the mental and physical aspects of the game. They welcome beginners young and old to make a smooth foray into the game during the four-part introductory Tennis 101 course—commonly students range in age from 4 to 18. During this series of 90-minute group lessons, coaches cover fundamentals ranging from just getting the ball over the net to developing court sense—the instinct that tells players where to position themselves and which baseline intersections indicate buried treasure. Three instructional classes introduce youngsters to new topics as they age and progress, allowing them to matriculate to a High Performance class that will further refine and sharpen their skills in preparation for competitive play.