Jan Wellendorf’s passion for karate began in 1963, when he first studied techniques from Japan, China, and Korea. Now a 10th-degree black belt, Jan has molded these experiences into his own style of karate—sanshinkai. At Karate International, more than 70 black belts teach Jan’s methods at five locations, where they help students use Eastern-inspired skills to control themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually. Geared toward pupils of all ages, Karate International’s programs also emphasize cross-training, which can incorporate everything from judo’s throwing techniques to the pizza-eating regimen of ninja turtles.
Before founding Master Chang?s Martial Arts in Raleigh, Grand Master Do Hyun Chang honed his skills as the captain of the Korean Tigers Demonstration Team, an internationally roving martial-arts exhibition. The Tigers' shows under Chang were quite a spectacle, combining martial prowess with acrobatics, power breaking, and self-defense seminars. Today, Master Chang takes all that knowledge and distills it down to essential lessons in tae kwon do and hapkido. He and his team of instructors specialize in introducing martial arts to young children. They layer each lesson with character-building exercises that help kids succeed in school, especially if they ever need to punch through a wall to get to class on time.
Although the art of taekwondo may have origins thousands of years into Korea's past, Master Michael Wegmann and his wife Julia inject a modern approach at Vision Martial Arts. Together, they teach effective techniques to kids, women, and men, imparting equally valuable lessons in self-defense, exercise, and mental discipline. They run their six academies with help from a team of trained instructors, who all focus on developing mentor-like relationships with their students through personal attention and powerful speeches delivered atop school desks. At select locations, they also teach a form of kickboxing similar to krav maga.
Lead by Dr. Daniel Bannard, a "Fellow" of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture with over 30 years of experience to his name, the team at The Bannard Center uses a range of treatments to promote full-body wellness. With help from licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist Dr. Sebastion Lee, the team specializes in holistic chiropractic work, augmenting unique, energy-balancing herbal formulas with sauna sessions and acupuncture treatments. During massage work, a certified specialist rubs clients' muscles to release pent-up stress and loosen the gnarled knots of shoulder anxiety and misplanted back saplings. All visits take place in a professional office space, recently renovated with hardwood floors and warm colors.
More than 8,000 square feet of space comprise RedPoint, a climbing gym set in a renovated warehouse. Nearly every inch has been set aside for towering climbing walls and exercise equipment to help climbers shore up their skills.
Within these confines, a team of instructors is on hand to teach the skills needed to conquer the facility’s tricky bouldering routes. They can also teach the fundamentals of belaying, which will help you to scale any of the more than 30 onsite climbing stations for top roping, lead climbing, or washing windows on the state capitol building. Back at ground level, you can tone your physique on pull-up bars, rowing machines, and Olympic weights as well as in CrossFit classes, which work on building core strength and overall fitness. The facility also hosts various kid-focused activities such as lock-ins, birthday parties, and corporate retreats for mountain goats.