For more than 20 years, Igor Dyachenko has trained with top coaches around the world and won numerous awards in international competitions. As a former world champion, certified instructor, and founder of D-Dojo Karate, he calls upon those years of experience to fuse classical Japanese karate techniques with modern science, including knowledge culled from biophysics, biomechanics, and reruns of The Bionic Woman. The dojo is a member of the World Karate Federation (WKF) and an official branch of the Shotokan Karate-do International Federation (SKIF), headed by Hirokazu Kanazawa. Dyachenko trained with Kanazawa, a 10th-degree black belt who studied with the creator of Shotokan karate.
Dyachenko and his team strive to train students quickly with basic karate techniques known as kihon, kata, and kumite exercises. Children practice exercises through running, jumping, and playing, in order to help develop physical strength, agility, and mental toughness. Dyachenko also used his karate skills and sense of humor to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" speech on The Colbert Report.
John González, founder of New Amsterdam Fencing Academy, brings his skills as a nationally ranked athlete to the piste, where he works with enthusiastic instructors to demonstrate European fencing techniques. He and the coaching corps teach foil, épée, and saber disciplines during classes that take advantage of the group's collective energy. They lead students through progressive learning approaches—group footwork and conditioning, individual lessons, and bouting sessions— in hopes of preparing students for traditional competitions and unconventional kebab parties.