Brand-new martial arts students begin with the blank slate of white belt. Learn where they go from there with Groupon?s look at martial arts belts.
There?s an old story about the evolution of the system of colored martial-arts belts: donning fresh white belts at first, trainees would let them darken over time with sweat and dirt, until, after years of increasing mastery, they turned almost black. If it sounds like a story that's too good to believe, it almost certainly is. Although the belt system is conceivably an ancient tradition handed down from sensei to sensei, its origins can be readily traced to the early 20th century. That?s when Dr. Jigoro Kano was developing a new form of physical education for Japanese public school students: judo, a safer version of the jujitsu fighting style. Facing an influx of new students, he devised a hierarchy of colored belts to illustrate their progress at a glance rather than having to ask each one to fight him every day.
How quickly athletes move up the ladder will depend on the teacher, the dojo, and the style, in addition to their skills. They may advance by taking a formal exam with practical, oral, and written sections; they may be asked to spar with students in the next level to prove their readiness; or they may be awarded a different color belt because the old one clashes with their eyes. And in any discipline, tying on a black belt doesn?t mean you?ve made it. Instead, one might think of it as being inducted into an advanced training program. In karate, for instance, there are 10 grades of black belts, some of which require up to 10 years of study to attain.
Combining up-to-date teaching techniques with the age-old customs of martial arts, Northampton Karate offers students of all ages a focus on Okinawan Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu style karate for improving health, fitness, and confidence in a friendly atmosphere. Experienced instructors guide their apprentices on board breaking and beard-accumulating journeys to enhanced athletic performance and disciplined behavior. Tiny fighters can take their first roundhouse kicks with Northampton’s kids' classes (ages 5 to 11) and youth program (ages 12 to 15), and adults can bridge the generation gap through well-placed jabs with their respective classes. Check out the schedule to determine which class best fits the color of your karate girdle.
From rock climbing, to kayaking, to camping, Tekoa Mountain Outdoors' founder Tim Vogel views the great outdoors as a combination of playground and classroom, a place where adults and children can learn by doing. Tim has been teaching and guiding adventure activities for more than 25 years, and his experience aids him as he plans adventurous exhibitions, such as hiking along the Appalachian Trail or searching for lost car keys in the Wards Gregory Cave System. During outings, Tim teaches his students both introductory and advanced techniques. Along with a team of certified guides, Tim advocates passion for the outdoors and love for every blade of glass, even the stubby crab variety. In addition to working with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, the staff leads several education programs that teach youth valuable team-building lessons. They also run the WOLF Program, which cultivates new crops of professional leaders within the expedition and adventure industry.
The nine-hole course at Northampton Country Club was carved into the countryside in 1898. Four sets of tees make each time-honored hole manageable, whether a player can hit the long ball or prefers to throw the ball toward the green. A river comes into play on two holes, and the wide fairways cut through regions of dense forest that can ensnare errant balls.
After a round, players can head to the recently renovated clubhouse to dine at the 19th Hole bar and grill and regale fellow visitors with tall tales of booming drives and the 3-foot putt that got away.
Course at a Glance: * Nine-hole, par 35 course * Total length of 3,041 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 69 from the back tees * Course slope of 119 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole
Ledges Golf Club is not your typical municipal golf course. Sure, its 18 holes sweep across 244 acres of Pioneer Valley land that belongs to taxpayers, but lumping it with other publicly owned courses wouldn't fully convey the thought that's been put into it. Founded in 2001, the course is a result of five years spent drawing up its hybrid layout and executing its private club-like atmosphere. In designing it, architect Howard Maurer sought to strike a balance between links-style holes and the woodland setting, as the course is surrounded by mountain ridges and protected wetlands that many species of wildlife call home. As partners in the Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary Program, course superintendents preserve these natural surroundings by eschewing harmful pesticides and fertilizers on the fairways and hairsprays on the rough as they keep the course in pristine condition.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,507 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.2 from the back tees * Course slope of 133 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * View the scorecard.
Donald Ross, America's first great golf course architect and designer of legendary loops such as Pinehurst No. 2 and Seminole Golf Club, had a way with the land. He seemed to be able to bend the earth to his will. Where lesser architects might have just laid down a bunch of green yoga mats, Ross punctuated the landscape with subtle, artful flourishes – such as crowned “turtle back” greens and deep bunkers – that were perfectly integrated into the landscape. These nuanced touches can be witnessed at Orchards Golf Club, a 1922 Ross creation. The famed designer splayed the 18-hole course across 160 acres of terrain marked by dense forest groves and an enduring mystique, attributes that earned the course hosting duties for the 2002 NCAA Women's Championship and 2004 USGA Women's Open Championship.
Course at a Glance: