When Darren Levine received his first Krav Maga black belt in 1984, he wasn't the first man to have worn that particular piece of fabric. The belt originally belonged to the man presenting it to him: Imi Lichtenfeld, the creator of Krav Maga. Darren had had the good fortune of learning the self-defense technique from Imi himself, and eventually became one of Imi's most trusted practitioners, developing training programs for more than 5,000 law enforcement and military personnel throughout the U.S.
In 1998, just one year after his beloved mentor passed away, Darren founded Krav Maga Worldwide to meet growing demand from curious civilians. The hand-to-hand technique is focused on reacting to realistic attacks, and teachers use scenarios inspired by everything from military combat, to late-night walks alone, to heated matches of Whac-A-Mole. Darren and his team lead various programs tailored for law enforcement and military members, women, fitness buffs, and even children, and they also offer certification programs for those looking to become instructors.
Some gyms call themselves a family. Grinder Gym finds the term "tribe" more apt. Like tribes, their members span all ages, walks of life, and fitness levels, and they all stick together for one common cause: fitness. At the helm of the tribe is nutritionist and personal trainer, Dave DePew, who's been working toward optimum health since the early age of 8, and has since developed a lifelong philosophy of "diligent daily fitness". Said philosophy—which values continual progression over immediate perfection—includes scientifically proven dietary plans paired with a variety of workout routines designed to suit individual goals, whether that's developing more bulk or finally being able to outrun the neighbor's pet cheetah. To help clients hit these fitness targets, he and his team lead high-intensity classes, such as Total Body Kettlebells and Core & Cardio, that rely on functional movements and resistance training. They also lead classes such as Blood & Guts, during which they challenge participants with obstacle courses and a mix of cardio and strength training. All of these classes and techniques have resulted in some of Dave's students losing anywhere from 16- to 44-pounds and dramatically dropping inches around the waist.
Personal trainers and registered dietitians work side by side at FitClub Bay Area. Together, they take a comprehensive approach to health, helping their clients develop personalized exercise and diet plans. The fitness experts lead group classes that combine yoga and Pilates, and incorporate weight machines, free weights, and industrial-strength gravity into personal-training sessions designed to help clients achieve their goals.
As the AHL minor-league affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Syracuse Crunch has primed players for the big league since 1994. They confront rivals from the Eastern Conference's East Division and beyond at The Oncenter War Memorial Arena, in front of 7,000 fans whose fiery passion for the team melts the ice beneath opposing players' feet.
Since being founded by Sensei John Smartt in 1986, New School Aikido has become a prime spot to learn the ins and outs of aikido. Unlike some martial-arts disciplines, aikido teaches students to defend themselves without transforming into an aggressor or a giant bald eagle. Students can learn the traditional Japanese technique from New School's team of black-belt instructors, who schedule classes for adults, teens, and kids as young as 4.
Equipment: Muay thai pads, boxing gloves, sparring gear, weapons, Revgear
Students should bring: Workout clothes, towel
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Have fun