Alongside experienced instructors, nationally ranked heavyweight boxer Danny Calhoun gets students fighting fit during boxing and martial-arts courses. Mr. Calhoun teaches students the same techniques for hand speed, footwork, and cardio endurance that he uses in his own pursuit of boxing's World Heavyweight Title. The facility's combat tutelage has drawn such professional athletes as Indianapolis Colts linebacker Tyjuan Hagler and UFC champion Rich Franklin to The Punch House's arenas. Inside the high-ceilinged gym, red walls frame the expanse of blue and black floor mats, bruised from the many ground-pound lessons during mixed-martial-arts classes. Heavy, full-length bags sway, only slightly malformed from the devastating combos students are taught to deliver.
The Five Seasons Family Sports Club houses tennis courts, a dining area, fitness facilities, swimming pools, and a full-service spa under one roof. Within air-conditioned indoor courts or on outdoor hard or clay courts, racquet slingers compete in friendly bouts to sharpen swings, refine backhands, and showcase grunting abilities. Members can also break a sweat in exercise areas speckled with modern cardio equipment and weights or cool off in an Olympic-sized pool with diving wells and wading areas. Before meeting others for a postgame beverage at the lively café, clients can wander to the spa for a relaxing massage or partake in a sports workshop to gain a firm grasp on game mechanics.
Vision MMA began as a group of friends' informal workout sessions in Loveland High School's wrestling room. Although it eventually expanded to its own facility, Vision MMA's trainees still describe the gym as having a family atmosphere and feeling like a second home. The gym trains pupils in mixed martial arts, jujitsu, boxing, and muay thai, in addition to offering boot-camp and combat fitness classes.
Cincinnati Fitness & Boxing's 7,000-square-foot space once held the clatter and clang of a steel mill. Today, the sound of metal on metal has been replaced with the sounds of glove against pad, but much of the industrial charm remains. High windows above exposed brick and cinderblock walls cast light onto two full-sized rings, where welter weights and heavy weights alike learn from instructors as tough as steel. Their ranks include professional boxers, kickboxers, and MMA instructors, all of whom have the experience to carve rock-hard biceps out of any arms. One of their teachers, Marty Slone, once even sparred 100 rounds straight, a staggering accomplishment done to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Cincinnati Taekwondo Center fortifies its traditional martial-arts classes by also offering kimoodo classes. Known as "Korean tai chi," kimoodo imparts stretching, breathing, and meditation methods to students, resulting in physical gains such as greater flexibility, as well as mental and emotional benefits that may include better concentration and anxiety relief. These qualities carry over into the center's tae kwon do classes. Instructors don’t teach their students to pick fights or bully, but to defend and exercise compassion. As a result, kids and adult students build confidence and character, the frontlines of defense for most social encounters.
Roughly translated, tae kwon do means "the way of the foot and the fist." With more than 2,000 years of history behind it, the ancient martial art mixes movements of karate and kung fu with Korean kicking techniques. Since 2001, Cincinnati TaeKwonDo Academy has shared this authentic style of tae kwon do with students of all ages—some as young as 4 years old.
Today, the academy divides itself into four age-appropriate programs. The Lil Leaders program, for instance, teaches young kids the basics, focusing on the eight specific skills—including coordination, speed, and structure—that are critical to performing tae kwon do and escaping the time-out corner. On the older end of the spectrum, the Impact Teens and Adult program splices tae kwon do training with functional fitness drills and reality-based self-defense practices.