Gliding across Lake Michigan, the sailing party watches the sun sink beneath the Chicago skyline. As the last rays fade from view, the city's skyscrapers throw their light onto the lake's surface. The captain steers the ship past Grant Park and Millennium Park, and then veers out toward Navy Pier, where the ship's passengers find a prime viewing spot for the Saturday-night fireworks show.
In addition to charters like these, the captains of Go Sailing Chicago—all holding US Coast Guard Master Captain licenses and certifications from the American Sailing Association and US Sailing—furnish beginner through advanced sailors with sailing gloves and life jackets before leading hands-on instruction in proper seamanship. Launching from DuSable and Monroe Harbor, and sometimes other points along the lakeshore, Go Sailing Chicago's four-boat fleet meets or exceeds the safety standards set down by the USCG and the most persnickety of ship-in-a-bottle builders.
Long before the UFC turned mixed martial arts into a caged spectacle, Kensho Martial Arts founder Roger Luri was melding myriad fighting styles into a coherent method of self-defense. Thirty years of teaching martial arts have shown him that, in a self-defense situation, trained fighters will resort to whatever moves and faked tuberculosis symptoms come the easiest. Instead of inculcating a rigid structure for kicks and punches, he devised a technique that allows students to draw from multiple influences. These include disciplines such as karate, kickboxing, jujitsu, and Western boxing.
Luri built his self-defense technique from his broad experience scrapping in multiple styles. In the 1980s, the seventh-degree black belt developed an iron grip over judo and kickboxing while studying under Grand Master Fred Degerberg, a pioneer of mixed martial arts. Since then, Luri has developed mastery over Thai and French boxing, for which he received the Silver Glove from the French Federation of Boxe Francaise Savate.
Northside Mixed Martial Arts acquaints all willing students—most of whom have never sparred or grappled—with the proven combat techniques of Gracie jiu-jitsu, submission wrestling, muay thai kickboxing, and MMA in a supportive and secure environment. The center's squad of expert coaches includes Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion and Gracie-trained black belt Misho Ceko, as well as two-time Golden Gloves boxer Ivelin Tzontchev. By showcasing strikes and holds from across the martial-arts spectrum, classes instill a base of knowledge from which guests can improvise and adapt to subdue much larger opponents, such as street toughs, hooligans, and rabid Big Birds. The gym rounds out its class roster with personal-training services and women's self-defense boot camps, and beckons to passersby a mere four blocks away from the Fullerton CTA stop.
Chicago Boxing Club enhances strength, endurance, and self-control through invigorating boxing, wrestling, muay thai, and jujitsu classes led by professional instructors. More than 3,000 square feet of training space houses all the necessary equipment to complete full-body workouts, and professional trainers work to instill proper training techniques in students or bitter discarded teddy bears. Cardio machines and weights surround the facility's two championship boxing rings, where students hone speed and self-defense methods in boxing classes or tactical leverage maneuvers in jujitsu classes. Muay thai classes fine-tune flexibility and balance with fast, high-kicking techniques, and youth boxing classes keep kids in shape during off-seasons from writing symphonies or defeating chess robots.
Martial-arts expert and exercise guru Prentiss Rhodes fills the minds and fists of his students with wisdom and humility through martial-arts training and kettlebell classes. After working in chiropractic rehabilitation clinics training pro athletes, Prentiss went on to master martial arts such as hapkido, haganah, and tactical knife fighting. Prentiss is fascinated by the functional movements of the body and has worked with students with many medical conditions, from MS to stroke. Prentiss incorporates all aspects of fitness into his practice, stressing not just strength but also mobility and flexibility, which come in handy during arm-wrestling tournaments to determine who will be the new county treasurer.
A 30-foot sailboat floats across Lake Michigan. It churns through water twinkling with reflections of moonlight, stars, and the Chicago skyline. Suddenly, fireworks shoot into the air, painting the sky above Navy Pier in blooms of red and blue. The USCG–licensed and certified captains at 3rd Coast Cruising create moments like these during private charters and sightseeing tours. They also spend their days leading hands-on lessons that let sailors discover keelboarding or tackle more advanced conditions such as heavy-weather sailing. Launching from the giant wine bottles in DuSable Harbor, 3rd Coast Cruising's fleet also beckons potential captains to compete in sailboat races.