Kempo’s movement patterns may look beautiful—fluid, swooping kicks, graceful evasions, smooth takedowns—but underneath the beauty lies a tradition nearly 2,000 years old. Since 1968, the instructors at United Studios of Self Defense have armed students with these techniques, leading classes where participants of all ages and skill levels soak up fighting skill while galvanizing self-confidence.
But before they can share their tactics and Mortal Kombat cheat codes, the instructors themselves must be trained. Each instructor who cinches the black belt around their waist has graduated with honors from the Studio’s own rigorous training academy. The training doesn’t stop there; every week they meet with the founder himself, 10th-degree black belt Charles Mattera, who refines their strategies and instills them with advanced techniques.
Alliance Training Center's classes make students stronger in more ways than one. Instructors not only help clients reach peak fitness through CrossFit, but also arm students with the world-renowned self-defense techniques of Krav Maga. Both these activities qualify as "functional." For instance, CrossFit athletes focus on becoming experts at the kinds of movements that come naturally, as opposed to putting stress on their bodies with forced motions. For its part, Krav Maga teaches combat techniques that deal with real-world scenarios, including handling assailants who have knives or guns.
The trainers offer a few other equally practical programs to spice up the week so students don't have to turn to baffling Danish game shows for stimulation. Kettlebell courses provide a nice alternative to CrossFit's Olympic-style weight lifting. And Brazilian jiu-jitsu builds on Krav Maga's repertoire of strikes with potent grapples capable of taking larger opponents to the ground or locking up their limbs.
Heal One World empowers people with the knowledge and techniques to help themselves. Through classes, the organization teaches people skills and natural, noninvasive treatments they can use to ameliorate illness and injury and prevent further ailments from arising. Most of these classes impart self-help techniques and are therefore not covered by insurance, so the organization provides them on a sliding scale. Its programs range from yoga and tai chi to acupuncture and Feldenkrais treatments, drawing from ancient, time-tested practices that have often been cast to the wayside by Western culture. Heal One World also maintains a database of care providers who help people from low-income backgrounds attain stability of mind and body.
Yet beyond the individual, Heal One World focuses on strengthening the community. On weekends, it organizes vegan potlucks and film screenings on green opportunities and charity projects, and every May it holds a film, music, and arts festival in order to raise awareness of pressing environmental issues and include the community in artistic endeavors.