Travis Tooke's passion for mixed martial arts fueled his decorated competitive grappling and Brazilian-jujitsu careers, which instinctively led him to form Team Tooke Mixed Martial Arts and share his expertise with others. He proudly wears a Gracie Barra black belt and has been a Brazilian-jujitsu and submission-wrestling trainer for more than 12 years, during which he’s mentored renowned UFC fighter Yves Edwards. He and his team of instructors lead students in an array of mixed-martial-arts fitness classes, including kickboxing, Brazilian jujitsu, and wrestling. They offer kids' classes, women's classes, and classes for combat buffs looking to break into the professional mixed-martial-arts world, which used to require locking your resume in a chokehold until it got you a job.
Situated northwest of Houston, the Houston National Golf Club and Strategic National Grass Reserve pocks itself with 27 holes, playable, like Voltron, in three possible combinations. Designed by legendary hole artists Von Hagge, Smelek, Baril, and McConaughey, the rolling green is punctuated by varied hazards and distractions like ponds, sand traps, and virtual gazelles. Both beginners and professionals can find something to challenge their walking and bad-shot-excuse-making skills. Houston National's GPS-equipped carts automatically keep the game's score and track your position in case you get lost amidst the unending flatness.
At K2 Academy of Kids Sports, kids scurry around a 6,500-square-foot space filled with trampolines, balance beams, and rope swings spread beneath an overhead zipline. Accompanied by parents or legal-guardians, children can roam free across the indoor terrain during open-play hours or join gymnastics, cheerleading, and tumbling classes, in which instructors tailor lesson plans to each age group with an emphasis on fun, collaborative learning. Gymnastics sessions encompass everything from basic rolls to intricate dance routines, whereas cheerleading skills progress from simple tumbles to the ultimate inspirational challenge—making Eeyore indifferent. Tumbling pupils master cartwheels before tackling cardio training and jumps, further honing their skills in workshops and clinics designed as intensive studies of each activity.
During the off-season, day camps and summer camps keep teensy feet distracted from toppling store-window displays of fragile "Kick Me" signs. Year-round, the S.O.A.R. program tweaks the traditional gamut of classes for athletes with special needs. Using the Mother Goose Time curriculum, K2's preschool focuses on hands-on learning activities that aim to prepare children for kindergarten academically and socially.
Les Callaway is no stranger to the tennis court; he won the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship in his freshman year of college. Though he employed some top-notch training techniques to achieve his athletic goals, he never lost sight of the importance of loving the game. Today, as the head instructor at Cypress Tennis Academy, Les combines both his passion and his acumen to create group and private lessons for students of all ability levels. “We care not just about your tennis game, but your enjoyment of a life-long tennis adventure,” he says before excitedly listing off the kids’ summer camps, tournaments, and adult classes he teaches. The air at his facility is as invigorating as his attitude, the newly resurfaced courts sitting adjacent to a big fishing lake, a source of both fresh breezes and excellent midgame sushi.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.