Owner and black-belt Donna Middendorf of Sumner Taekwondo Academy leads a team of instructors who share their expertise in Korean hand-to-hand combat with kids and adults. And while the classes spend time with the more martial aspects of the art, they're really not about fighting. For Donna and the team, Taekwondo promotes peace through learning self-respect and gaining confidence—it's the heart of the discipline. At the same time, the instructors help students hone their punching and kicking skills and they engage with their peers in safe, supervised sparring sessions and fully-padded staring contests.
The dedicated instructors at Kids Love Martial Arts teach children the techniques of self-defense styles such as karate and tang soo do. But they are just as focused on imparting lessons on discipline, focus, and confidence. The studio's websites shares stories of youngsters who were constantly distracted in school or picked on by their peers. The teachers always prescribe the same medicine: a few weeks in Kids Love Martial Arts classes. The physical aspect of the training engages the youthful participants, but it's the less tangible results that can help them positively channel their energy and confidently stare down the karate-practicing monster under the bed.
Father-daughter duo David and Danielle Pelham co-own Velocity Taekwondo, where they join up with a small team of coaches to share their love of martial arts and training with anyone interested. Danielle won the 2009 World Taekwondo Federation championships, and David is an award-winning taekwondo competition coach. Together with CrossFit and MMA trainers, they equip clients with fighting and fitness skills. Taekwondo is the focus, however?the academy has its own competition team, and after-school programs accommodate the schedules of children and sentient pencils.
"Discipline is an act of freedom." United Fitness Center's motto sums up the facility's approach to working out. By offering up high-intensity classes that challenge its members' willpower, agility, and endurance, the center pushes participants to dedicate themselves to life-changing fitness. The center furthers this end goal by incorporating the Fittest Warrior system, which tracks members' workout routines and nutrition, ensuring they are overhauling their lifestyles rather than sending their clone, whose DNA has been spliced with a bodybuilder's, to the gym.