It's difficult to tell whether Master Thomas Gordon or Master Gregory Bledsoe would win in a fight. That's because the two martial-arts instructors have worked on the same team for more than a decade. In that time, they've developed a teaching style that has caught the attention of the local and national press.
All the attention is warranted, because Masters Gordon and Bledsoe aren't just effective instructors—they're avid students of their craft. Gordon, for example, has attended countless tae kwon do seminars and camps, and he can articulately speak about the discipline's history as well as flawlessly demonstrate its self-defense techniques. Both instructors are also acutely aware of the real-life applications of tae kwon do and hapkido. Plenty of police officers have attended their classes looking to get a leg up on the next criminal, and kids and teens use their newly acquired moves to defend against bullies or rip up impossible math tests.
Since driving a car on water isn't possible—yet—Destin Power Boats offers a better way to transport oneself over the tides with mint-condition vessels. Prestocked with USCG-approved safety equipment, the company's fleet features Baja and Searay boats that seat up to eight riders apiece. The fleet also revs up with supercharged seadoos, which boast 215-horsepower motors and are strong enough to carry multiple passengers or tow a small island. For customers in search of a unique thrill, Destin Power Boats also offers thrilling spins on the Flyboard—a high-tech device that propels users into the sky and under the water's surface.
In 2005, The Funplex of Gulf Breeze opened its doors to kids looking for competitive and recreational coaching in cheerleading and gymnastics. Over time, the demand grew so much that the facility expanded to its current 30,000-squre-foot venue, which serves the community with an even bigger variety of activities. Guests of honor have several options for birthday parties, including bounce-house sessions, princess-themed blowouts, private time on the gymnastics equipment, or instruction from a stuntman coach. Even adults can get in on the facility’s fun by taking Zumba dance fitness classes.
Cypress Lakes Golf Club’s course was designed by William Amick to rise and fall across the natural landscape for 6,396 yards of fairways hugged by gentle waters and towering trees. Unlike most Floridian links, the course unfurls across somewhat mountainous terrain, where cresting hilltops can obscure distant targets, leading to blind shots that aren’t just the result of opponents kicking sand in your eyes. Fairways bob and weave around groves of leyland cypress trees, more than 300 crepe myrtle trees, and 500 lush azaleas, giving advantage to players who can work drives and approaches around the arboreal impediments. A circuit of streams ebbs and flows across the picturesque par 71, adding to the native obstacles and striking fear into the caramel hearts of hydrophobic golf balls. A roaming beverage cart slakes midround thirsts, and the club also boasts a driving range with grass hitting areas and a fully stocked pro shop.
Course at a Glance: * Designed by William Amick * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,396 yards from farthest tees * Course rating of 70.4 from farthest tees * Slope rating of 118 from farthest tees * Four tee options
With one foot planted in traditional martial-arts pedagogy and the other roundhouse-kicking modern sports science, Tiger Rock Taekwondo Academy schools limbs with fast-paced, total-body fitness classes. The health-and-fitness program consists of YogaFit and Kisado, which blends martial arts, yoga, and nutritional counseling to build up the whole body and tone each strand of hair on the head. Martial arts classes for adults and kids cover counter aggressive forms such as taekwondo and hanmudo, a style based on grappling and takedowns.
The site of the 1969 USGA Women's U.S. Open, Scenic Hills Country Club remains Florida's only course to host a USGA U.S. Open. But that's not the only thing that separates the 6,730-yard track from many of its Sunshine State counterparts. Unlike many courses that run through flat wetlands, Scenic Hills ripples over significant elevation changes?a characteristic that emerges at the first hole, a challenging, 443-yard par-four that plays downhill. The hills feed into a river and pond that, together, come into play on six holes, some of which force golfers to fly the ball directly over the hazard or bribe a frog with a backpack to swim it safely to the other side.
Alongside the course, separate greens for chipping and putting help golfers hone their scoring touch, and a driving range fosters full-swing practice. After a day at the links, golfers can enjoy a salad, sandwich, or other American-style dining at Caponi's Grille, named for 1969 U.S. Women's Open winner Donna Caponi.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,730 yards from the tips * Course rating of 73.4 from the tips * Slope rating of 130 from the tips * Five tee options