In the most impressive of martial arts moves, bodies fly across a 1,700-square-foot mat at Cavalo Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, where students train to become Brazilian jiu jitsu fighters. Classes cater to all skill levels with exercises designed to use leverage and submission holds to subdue an opponent.
In 1986, brothers and lifelong martial artists Jeff and Jade Hockman began practicing Songahm tae kwon do, a well-rounded martial art that ranks among the world's most popular styles. After years of disciplined physical and mental training, they have earned the distinction of sixth-degree master instructors of the craft and have won multiple medals at the ATA World Championships. Today, they pass on their knowledge at four Missouri dojos that offer training for both adults and children. Numerous pupils have become masters under the Hockmans' training, including more than 500 black belts and numerous state champions.
Rifkin Professional Karate Center gives its pupils options. The basis of its curriculum is a blend of karate, tae kwon do, kickboxing, and aikido, which allows students to use a range of kicking, blocking, and strength-maneuvering techniques to burn calories and tone the body. The end result is an attempt to help students lose weight and get into the best shape of their lives. The center's founder is JD Rifkin, a black belt master instructor with 26 years of experience studying, teaching, and fighting. His talents have extended to choreographed stunt work and circuit fighting, but it was his passion for teaching that led him to open his martial-arts studio. Here, students young and old can brush up their skills in a number of disciplines.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
The Bouldering Garden presents a thriving, indoor oasis of climbing apparatuses, including a pair of copious caves, a 45-degree wall, and a large stalactite. Designed primarily for bouldering, the facility brims with training opportunities for advanced climbers, as well as learning opportunities for students of the sport. Professional instructors consistently roam the grounds to maintain a safe environment, and soft landing pads strewn across the floors absorb falls in a cushy manner that justifies their annual spot atop the Christmas lists of crash-test dummies. In addition to its rocky endeavors, The Bouldering Garden also leads zip-lining adventures, and its onsite shop stocks visitors with the latest in climbing gear. The center also promotes the sport as a healthy family activity and offers discounts for parent-child memberships.
Pro Fitness is a sprawling athletic facility, with rows of professional exercise equipment, racks of free weights, and a private cardio theater. Within workout studios, certified trainers lead an array of group fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, and boot camp. The instructors also offer personal-training sessions, tailoring workouts to accommodate each client's unique abilities and goals.