Learning combat skills is not the main benefit of martial-arts lessons, as the instructors at TriValley ATA Martial Arts know well during the journey from white belt to black belt. Their students develop valuable personal skills—discipline, self-confidence, and focus. Both kids and adults learn proper stance and how to block and strike as they work toward acquiring the next belt. Mastering these physical skills requires developing mental skills, which helps bring balance to the mind, body, and spirit in a more fun way than trying to meditate while lying on a seesaw.
Set amid a stretch of hilly terrain, Canyon Lakes Golf Course's 18-hole course offers a player-friendly layout with scenic views of Mount Diablo and the San Ramon Valley. Throughout the course, towering pine trees and treacherous sand traps constrict the fairways, eager to ensnare errant golf balls or 7-iron medal detectors looking for buried treasure. When not taking on the challenges of the undulating course, golfers can head to Canyon Lakes' adobe-style clubhouse, which serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day and breakfast from 6:45 a.m. to noon on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Helmed by founder Tom Rezendes, NorCal Golf Academy’s LPGA and PGA professional instructors believe that there are infinite ways to swing a golf club. In this spirit, they help each student find his or her own best approach, taking into account physical limitations to craft goals that are as lofty as the berries on a berry bush. The indoor facility’s wealth of technology helps the teachers create such individualized road maps with K-Vest motion analysis—a system that uses wireless sensors to assess movement patterns—and Flight Scope and Trackman radar launch monitors, which depict ball flight on flat-screen HDTVs.
The LPGA and PGA professionals take all this information into account while offering recommendations. Operating on the premise that there is no such thing as a quick fix and that overall fitness is key to a good game, they also focus on adding new drills over time, and encourage students to participate in the facility’s golf fitness classes. The specially designed workouts can help golfers build a solid swing and generate the muscle needed to fight off water-hazard gators.
The co-founder of the Escuela de Tango, Marcelo Solis, has been an Argentine tango dancer and teacher for more than 25 years. Solis formed the Escuela de Tango dance school in 2012. The San Francisco location is one of a few branches of the school, which is headquartered in Buenos Aires—the so-called capital of tango. In San Francisco, a cadre of skilled instructors offers private lessons with one-on-one coaching as well as group classes suited to all skill levels and astrological signs. If you want to put your new moves into practice, the school frequently hosts and sponsors milongas—special dance celebrations with music, food, and drinks.
Amid sun-drenched hills, New Heights Training Stables' long barn and training facility stretch out under the giant sky. The stable is a one-stop shop for everything horsey, with a covered arena, outdoor jumping arena, dressage court, and cross-country course. Here, instructors train equestrians of all ages in a variety of disciplines, teaching them beginner skills—such as taking the reigns—and advanced skills—including leaping over fences to save princesses. Led by head trainer David Acord, the instructors also teach students horse-care skills and train the horses themselves. Those who have their own horses can board them in one of the many roomy stalls, where mares and stallions alike are treated to high-quality hay, fresh bedding, and daily turnouts into the surrounding pastures.