At Kempo Fitness, Glen Bartlett and his staff help students of all ages build confidence and lean muscle through martial arts. The studio's flagship program, Kempo karate, draws from nearly 500 years of tradition and focuses on a graceful combination of circular and linear movements. Other classes merely use martial arts as a jumping-off point. Cardio kickboxing, for example, distills the discipline's rapid-fire punches and kicks into a workout that's even more challenging than fitting boxing gloves on your feet.
Theresa Van Ackeren grew up riding her bike on her afternoon paper route along the streets of Omaha, Nebraska. On her 40th birthday, she decided to return to that simple happiness by quitting her day job and opening Family Bicycles. She strives to make biking accessible to all who want to try by hosting rides, special events, and classes to bring newbies into the fold. In the shop, tools sing a tinny song as mechanics true wheels and spruce up soiled drivetrains. Family Bicycles also hosts a winter film series, showing bike-centric Hollywood dramas, documentaries, and the one where the Three Stooges lose their driver’s license.
Though focused on bicycles, Elite Cycling equips athletes for both triathlon and bicycling events with both cycling and running equipment and apparel. Along with a cavalry's worth of racing bikes from brands such as Cervelo, Felt, Jamis, Ridley, and Surly, the store stocks athletic shoes from such brands as K-Swiss and Newton. Triathaloners will find the store stocked with wet suits, swim goggles, and other gear. To ensure customers find the ideal frame during fit analyses, the staff asks series of questions to determine their individual needs and specific cycling goals beyond just having the loudest bike bell possible.
Overland Park Racquet Club lets members play tennis year-round with 14 courts inside a climate-controlled facility and eight out in the sun. A staff of experienced instructors—including former collegians and top-ranked amateur players—imparts skills and fundamentals during clinics, lessons, and Quickstart programs, which feature a scaled-down version of tennis for racketeers younger than 10. Off the courts, the club offers a full set of amenities including a fitness room, full-service restaurant and bar, and Olympic-sized outdoor pool where you can test out the buoyancy of your new suit sewn from tennis balls.
It's hard to top the resume of AmeriKick Martial Arts sensei Bob Leiker. A six-time NBL World Champion, he has defeated so many notable opponents that he was inducted into the Legends Hall of Fame. As if that weren't enough, he created a fighting style of his own called sen shu do ryu—a fusion of his knowledge of jiu jitsu, karate-do, tae kwon do, okinawan go ju ryu, and american kickboxing. Outside of the ring, he has served as a governor's appointee to the Kansas Sentencing Commission and the official martial arts instructor for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Still, Bob prefers to talk about his students' successes. AmeriKick's martial arts classes teach not only karate techniques and kickboxing maneuvers to students of all ages and fitness levels, but also self-confidence and the drive to improve oneself. In youth karate classes, students learn to de-escalate potentially hazardous situations, and adult karate sessions teach participants to take defensive action against would-be attackers. Through these lessons, students learn to apply the focus they use in the ring to better themselves outside of it, from tackling personal challenges to staring down textbooks until they turn their own pages.
The martial-arts masters at AKKA Karate USA specialize in kenpo karate, a unique form that builds muscle tone and reflexes in order to use the body’s natural weapons—hands and feet—for self-defense. In addition to kenpo, they also lead classes focused on MMA, tai chi, and weapons training. Often, AKKA holds special events such as tournaments and sparring seminars. In addition to learning self-defense techniques, students also build valuable life skills such as an appreciation for fitness, discipline, and self-confidence.