At Sterling Golf and Swim Club, golfers send balls sailing down the tree-lined fairways of an 18-hole, par 54 golf course, and swimmers backstroke across two 25-meter pools. For nearly half a century, club-wielders have traversed past water and dodged bunkers at the executive course, giving the pines and weeping willows ample time to flourish, and the nonprofit club itself has existed for four decades. Two kiddie pools flank the club’s two larger pools, enabling wee ones to practice breathing through their gills while their older siblings butterfly down lanes, and a game room provides indoor entertainment. An adult lounge lets weary golfers relax in peace, and the clubhouse’s pro shop outfits players searching for golf balls whose dimples perfectly match their own.
There's no mistaking the purpose of the dozens of 150-pound punching bags dangling from the red metal frames that span LA Boxing Sterling's floor. Whether members consider themselves professional fighters or aerobic exercisers, the gym is a place to punch things. Under the watchful eye of mixed martial arts instructors, students pound away at bags with fist and foot, elevating their heart rates to fulfill the cardio-conditioning portion of the gym's signature national program. Participants occasionally pick up weights or jump ropes, but it's all part of the training to get back to the bag and make the stuffing rue the day it turned down the chance to fill a wild teddy bear.
Each element of the sporting symphony emanates from its respective part of Dulles Golf Center & Sports Park: the pings of golf balls from the driving range, the smacks of the volleyball from the sand courts, and the line-drive cracks from the batting cages. The covered, lighted range?which Golf Range Magazine ranked as one of the Top 50 Standalone Golf Ranges in America in 2013?is home to PGA Director of Instruction Chuck Will and his golf academy. It's also big brother to a 18-hole miniature golf course decorated with the scaled-down versions of historic lighthouses, which lends the course a nautical charm and might help anyone find safe passage on a particularly foggy night.
He inches back across the crimson mat, arms raised, preparing for the next blow. His back hits the ropes; he's cornered. You take your shot and he falls, crowning you victor. This might be how a match plays out in the central ring at Disciple Mixed Martial Arts Academy—it's one of four spaces for sparring, including a cage. Of course, before fighters enter the ring, they undergo rigorous training in one of the martial arts programs available, including Brazilian jujitsu, muay thai, MMA, and judo.
Karate master Kancho Ninomiya adapted the classic techniques of his favorite fighting style to the needs of modern self-defense, creating the style known as Enshin Karate. The fast-paced style emphasizes constant movement, a blend of kicks and grappling take-downs, and techniques for facing multiple opponents at once. The practical nature of the street-savvy style appealed to a young Nima Mazhari, who discovered a dojo on his way home from school one day.
Mazhari joined the school hoping to learn to fight, but instead discovered the value of a determined work ethic. The lessons he learned in that dojo inspired him to excel in school, pass his college-entrance exams, and pursue his degree. He then decided to share the lessons he had learned with the world. He founded Enshin Karate to not only teach kids and adults his fighting techniques, but to help them discover how to be the best versions of themselves without relying on personality upgrades downloaded online.