Blaine A. Feyen has taught martial arts in more than a dozen countries across the world, bringing his lifelong passion to students, the military, and law enforcement organizations. At Toyoda Aikido Center, he and his staff instruct participants in the arts of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, aikido, and kendo.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes give students an understanding of MMA fundamentals, with a focus on grappling, ground fighting, and tickling opponents into submission. Kendo lessons teach participants to spar with bamboo swords. Aikido classes impart many skills useful for self-defense, covering punching, breathing exercises, and defense theory. The center offers an immersive live-in program for its most serious students, allowing full focus on perfecting their martial arts techniques and watering their Chia pets.
Like players on the court, the coaches at T.H.O.S Basketball—which stands for Teaching and Helping Others Succeed—combine their talents to pull together a winning game plan. Coach Hoskins and his staff lead the basketball classes, teaching students techniques he's learned throughout his sports-management career—the same on-court fundamentals and advanced strategies that helped his Central Basketball Club team take home a championship. Coach Kyle takes cheerleading enthusiasts under her wing, leading them through exercises and routines that build self-confidence and character. Inspiration is the domain of Coach Collins, who encourages players to build motivation, practice, and overcome their fear that basketballs are actually enormous spider eggs.
Sometime during her second year as a swim instructor, Jenny McCuiston realized just how just how in-demand her profession was. As a 17-time collegiate All-American swimmer with a degree in early childhood development, Jenny is almost tailor-made for the role. Along with her husband and co-founder Chris, she toured the country to learn from successful swim clinics and attended various swimming conferences. Armed with boatloads of research, she sat at her kitchen table, drew up a curriculum, designed her school’s beachy decor, and packaged it as Goldfish Swim School.
Since then, she and her husband have added more than 40 employees to their staff and have franchised 11 Goldfish Swim School locations throughout the Midwest. Each location’s staff strives to create an inviting atmosphere for swim lessons, decorating the indoor pool rooms with a whimsical beach theme and heating the water to 90 degrees. A four-to-one student to instructor ratio gives students plenty of face time with their teacher and puts parents at ease more effectively than having to dress kids up in full-body life jackets.
Following in the Ribeiro tradition and teaching system, Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu Grand Rapids uncorks a wealth of wisdom during classes for men, women, teens, and kids. Head instructor Ryan Hyde—who has shared the mat with black belts, world champions, and professional MMA fighters—leads the facility’s teaching efforts. In addition to teaching the physical movements of BJJ, Ryan builds his teaching philosophy atop four main pillars: humility, respect, perseverance, and compassion. He deploys his pedagogical prowess during classes where he offers specific advice, but he also dusts off his teaching chops during the facility’s open mat sessions, when he takes on more of a mentorship role. In those sessions, students sharpen their skills by practicing with each other rather than sparring with the mall mannequin that keeps giving everyone the hairy eyeball.
Ever since the 1970s, when riders began taking to motocross dirt tracks with their bicycles, the specialists at Freewheeler Bike Shop have helped to fuel their passion. Their 30+ years of specialized service have earned the shop the title of Best Longstanding Business by Rapid Growth Media. In addition to building and servicing BMX bikes, the shop carries cycles and parts for various riding styles. Cruisers, mountain bikes, children's bikes, road bikes, and tandem cycles can be found throughout the shop, along with parts and accessories to keep riders safe. Their inventory includes lights, helmets, gloves, and cycle computers that keep track of speed, distance, and the bike's IQ.