Taylor Takata is no stranger to pressure. When he represented the United States in the Beijing Olympics, he stood toe-to-toe with some of the world's most fearsome fighters. Still, he knows that not everybody thrives when thrown into the fire. That's why his classes at Hawaii Judo Academy teach the principles of judo at a gradual pace and in a nonintimidating environment. At Takata's studio, students of all ages can master the martial art's trademark throws and takedowns at their own speed.
The son of a Californian flamenco dancer, Greg “The Salsaman” Henry was captivated by dancing early on. At the age of 3, he joined in on performances with his mother’s dance troupe. Years later he went on to found the Hot Salsa Dance Company, which puts on interactive latin-dance shows throughout Hawaii and California. Henry and other company members also lead the company’s instructional arm, Hot Salsa Hawaii, teaching group classes to beginning and intermediate dancers.
In these classes, you can learn the basic steps of Dominican Republic–style merengue, a more energetic version than its Haitian counterpart. You can also work toward mastering the sideways footwork of the bachata. Classes are limited in size to ensure that each student gets plenty of attention from the instructor.