Since ancient times, Thai students, fighters, and artists have performed the wai kru ritual to honor the teachers who make their study possible. Composed of everyone from Navy boxers to championship jujitsu fighters, the staff of martial-arts instructors at Wai Kru gym knows the value of experience. Kru John, for instance, has traveled to Japan, Brazil, and Thailand to hone his muay thai kickboxing expertise, attending more than 20 training camps throughout Asia and earning a certification from the Thai government.
Training guests as diverse as beginning boxers and professional MMA fighters, both of Wai Kru's locations bolster training regimens with cardio machines, weights, and open mat space. Each gym also sports a boxing ring and a 24-foot octagon, so shaped to avoid having to vacuum peanut shells from a 90-degree corner.
A quick study in graceful movement, Peter Gelzhinsky competed in the finals at the USA National Dance Championship just three years after taking up the craft. Parlaying his quick learning into effective teaching methods, Peter now leads hot-footed hopefuls through lessons that cover such social ballroom dances as merengue, cha-cha, and the hustle. Students can also breakdance to the thumping beats of hip-hop classes, or sashay with a provided partner through the salsa-like steps of the bachata. Many students enlist in Star Dance School’s lessons in preparation for a wedding or the grand opening of a laundromat with a dance floor.
Even for the experienced zipliner, Alpine Adventures' zaplines present a challenge. They're part of the three-hour Super Skyrider tour, and bear only a superficial resemblance to sister ziplines. Instead of zooming in a straight line, you have to painstakingly navigate your way across, step by step or handstand by handstand. But don't fret: only two of the nine ziplines are zaplines. The other seven, including the Skyrider and TreeTop tours, allow adventurers to hitch up and zoom off at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
Slightly closer to sea level, Thrillsville Aerial Park promises additional wind-in-your-hair activities. Tube down a huge ramp and launch straight into the cushy BigAirBag, scale a cargo net, or whip along a smaller zipline and pretend you're a giant. Alternatively, off-road nature tours take place in six-wheel-drive, custom-built Pinzgauer vehicles, which scale the rocky Barron Mountain in any weather with up to 11 riders strapped in safely. During these exploits, guides fire off facts in between the music that pumps through an overhead stereo system.
Lasting friendships could be a natural side effect of the fast-paced match play that occurs atop Franklin Park Tennis Association’s Shattuck Grove courts. The nonprofit organization enlists certified tennis pros to teach fundamentals during summer classes and camps and winter indoor lessons, while fostering a sense of community among players.
On Saturdays during the summer, classes for kids, youths, and adults are scheduled one after the other. This gives parents an opportunity to chat as kids play, and players get some time to connect before hitting the courts. Competitors can walk away with new comrades and a greater appreciation for active, healthy living that’s usually only obtained by blending a year’s worth of fitness magazines into a morning smoothie.
The fighting Florian brothers lend their family name to Florian Martial Arts, where they apply expert skill and professional experience to their strength and conditioning programs. Classes include everything from Brazilian jujitsu to a junior samurai program for boys and girls aged 6?15. Beginners may be interested in the fundamentals program, which teaches the "Florian way," a method of simple but highly effective techniques.
Jen and Jay, the brother and sister duo behind JFit 360, have different backgrounds but one unified goal—to help their clients incorporate fitness into their circle of well-being and health. Jay, a US marine sniper and MMA fighter, and Jen, a marathon runner and certified personal trainer, both lead classes that include personal training with specialties in boxing, MMA, kettlebell training, yoga, and running. They also conduct group personal-training sessions that offer the same one-on-one benefits of personal training but in a fun, supportive group atmosphere.