The Garden State Rollergirls, New Jersey's premiere all-female roller derby league, boasts a roster of over 40 skaters during their seventh season. Equipped with four-wheeled skates, the athletes crush competition during bouts of two 30-minute halves. While designated jammers—typically the fastest skaters—attempt to lap opposing rollers, blockers use a lethal combination of shoulder and hip checks.
With more than 100 years of history behind it, the St. John's University athletics department has earned the respect of rival programs in a number of sports. The past century has seen the St. John's men's basketball team rack up the seventh-most victories in the NCAA, sending 60 players to the pros in the process. As a testament to its success, the basketball team now plays most of its home games at Madison Square Garden, world-famous for its bewildering lack of plantlife. The school has also had success in baseball and soccer, making six College World Series appearances and taking home the NCAA Division I men’s soccer championship in 1996.
For more than 20 years, Igor Dyachenko has trained with top coaches around the world and won numerous awards in international competitions. As a former world champion, certified instructor, and founder of D-Dojo Karate, he calls upon those years of experience to fuse classical Japanese karate techniques with modern science, including knowledge culled from biophysics, biomechanics, and reruns of The Bionic Woman. The dojo is a member of the World Karate Federation (WKF) and an official branch of the Shotokan Karate-do International Federation (SKIF), headed by Hirokazu Kanazawa. Dyachenko trained with Kanazawa, a 10th-degree black belt who studied with the creator of Shotokan karate.
Dyachenko and his team strive to train students quickly with basic karate techniques known as kihon, kata, and kumite exercises. Children practice exercises through running, jumping, and playing, in order to help develop physical strength, agility, and mental toughness. Dyachenko also used his karate skills and sense of humor to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" speech on The Colbert Report.
John González, founder of New Amsterdam Fencing Academy, brings his skills as a nationally ranked athlete to the piste, where he works with enthusiastic instructors to demonstrate European fencing techniques. He and the coaching corps teach foil, épée, and saber disciplines during classes that take advantage of the group's collective energy. They lead students through progressive learning approaches—group footwork and conditioning, individual lessons, and bouting sessions— in hopes of preparing students for traditional competitions and unconventional kebab parties.