Sports in Live Oak

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Karate classes help foster discipline and self-confidence in both children and adults. Kids learn better listening sills, self-defense techniques, and how to karate chop their way through every door in the house. Advanced-degree black-belt instructors lead adults through kicks, straight-arms punches, and other karate moves that blast through calories and sculpt muscles.

4626 Soquel Dr
Soquel,
CA
US

Martial-arts master Francis Farley conquered his childhood timidity by studiously practicing martial arts. He went on to win the North American middleweight title in 1989, and by 1993, he had won the International Sport Karate Association middleweight championship, holding on to that title for five years. He decided to open Farley's Kickboxing Academy, a dojo with a full weight room and boxing ring, in order to teach others various kicks and jabs gleaned from his successful 27-win, 2-loss career, which featured 17 knockouts and one intimidating finger wag. Francis's passion for martial arts—and fitness in general—led him to pair up with instructors such as Joey Thomas, a professional surfer and black belt in Brazilian jujitsu; Willow Brown, the facility's yoga expert, who has more than 10 years of teaching experience; and MMA coach Mike Roberts. These gurus help fitness seekers of all levels blast calories, learn self defense, or gain spiritual tranquility, and they adhere to the motto, "You don't have to be a fighter to train like one," as opposed to, "Once a couch potato, always a couch potato."

2551 S Rodeo Gulch Rd.
Soquel,
CA
US

If he put on all of his medals at once, Brazilian-jujitsu instructor Garth Taylor wouldn't be quite so nimble. With wins at every belt level of the Brazil World Championships, five golds from the U.S. Open in his weight class and open-weight divisions, and victories against former UFC heavyweight champions, his resumé literally shines. Alongside kickboxing and CrossFit trainer Sam Radetsky, Garth guides students through lessons that detail "the gentle art".

To help students gain a firm foundation, the center's training focuses less on rote memorization and more on the ingrained knowledge of jujitsu's methodology. Taylor and Radetsky encourage trainees to improvise as they hone their grappling maneuvers, hoping that adults and children (ages 4 and up) will incorporate the same discipline into their everyday lives and afternoon checkers games. The club's additional classes on boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and judo help to cement a devoted community of mixed-martial-arts enthusiasts.

2100 Delaware Ave
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

For nine years, Gloria Walker has helped clients of all ages and fitness levels shape up with low-impact exercises. She puts her certification from the Aquatic Exercise Association to good use while leading exercises that strengthen muscles, lower blood pressure, and build endurance in both deep and shallow waters. Gloria outfits clients with hand buoys and flotation belts so that they can concentrate on toning muscles and flexing newly formed gills. To further reduce the risk of injury, Gloria—who is also a licensed lifeguard certified in advanced first aid and CPR—emphasizes body alignment and deep breathing.

415 Walnut Avenue
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Trudie Ransom knows just how addictive the sensation of standing above the waves can be. After just a few trips out on her board, she not only began training with the standup-paddleboarding master Andy Whitman from Angulo boards, but also opened up SUP Shack. From her experience shadowing Whitman, she decided the best way to introduce people to the sport was with Angulo’s soft, 10-foot boards, which serve as an easy surface to learn on while spending a day on the waves or taking one of the shop’s classes or tours. Classes never contain more than six students, allowing each student to have the one-on-one attention needed to master the art of balancing and maneuvering the board. Once pupils are sure of their strokes, the shop’s instructors lead guided tours that slip out across the rippling blue mirror and past the sights of the harbor or tackle the more advanced paths past sea-lion habitats. Late-evening tours pause as the sun sets over the ocean, filling the sky with color like somebody inciting peacocks to riot.

3703 Portola Dr
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Spokesman Bicycles' mechanics obviously ride their bikes to work, but that's not the only thing they do to reduce their impact on the environment. They also donate used tubes and tires to Totally Tubular Bags, use a biodegradable fluid in their parts cleaning machine, and ride whales to work only on special occasions.

But they didn't get into biking just to help the environment?they love everything about the sport, and many of them have been seriously cycling and fixing up bikes since the '70s. At their shop, the mechanics build road and mountain bikes, as well as work with fitters who adjust each bike to fit the needs of the rider. To keep clients safe and happy, they pass on their expertise to riders during free maintenance classes every month.

231 Cathcart St
Santa Cruz,
CA
US