Heavy bags circle the perimeter of The KO Club for Kids 10,000-square-foot training facility. Unlike the gear found in most gyms, the bags don't absorb the bruising blows of muscled-up fighters. Instead, they await flurries of punches from a decidedly different group: the club's kiddie-sized fighters. During their youth boxing and martial arts classes, certified boxing and martial arts instructors oversee a spacious padded floor where kids learn the fundamentals of fun, effective self-defense. After strapping on professional protective gear, youngsters hone technique and expend excess energy as they go rounds with padded gear and punching mitts. This no-spar approach keeps the classes low-pressure, building confidence without forcing kids to box with other students or that one punching bag that hits back.
Despite its seemingly short length of 2,668 yards from the back tees, Minnechaug Golf Course keeps rounds interesting by packing a cornocopia of hazards into a 9-hole layout. Players confront an onslaught of elevation changes, dogleg turns, and trees that won’t respond to verbal commands throughout the par 35 course. And the degree of difficultry truly ramps up on the par 3 eighth, which invites players to unsheathe their 9-iron or pitching wedge, take stock of the prevailing winds, and send tee shots flying toward an island green that rests on the other side of a 126-yard water hazard.
Muvement is as much a gym as it is a physical-fitness lab. Certified strength and conditioning specialist Michael Houle and Jill Houle, who holds a BS in nutritional science, team up to invest clients with practical workout regimens and an intimate knowledge of how the body works on a physiological level. Before new clients lift their first weight at the studio, a personal trainer consults with them about their exercise and health history and runs physical assessments and lab tests to identify potential obstacles related to the immune, digestive, hormonal, and detoxification systems. Next, Jill draws on her background as a professional nutritionist to recommend a diet suited to the client’s unique metabolism, and explains how the body breaks down calories and nutrients. Even their fitness regimens take a holistic approach. Whether in group or personal-training sessions, functional movements using resistance bands, TRX suspension, and kettlebells incorporate multiple muscle groups and joints into each exercise, building a physique more balanced than two eggs riding a seesaw during the spring equinox.
Growing up in Sao Paulo, a city of nearly 20 million people, Gui and Joy Torres didn't stand much chance of bumping into each other. But fate had a plan, sending them both thousands of miles north to New Haven, Connecticut, and bringing them together at a capoeira event. Filled with playful, passionate movements, capoeira's 400-year-old fusion of dance and martial arts sparked a romance, and Gui and Joy soon married.
After marrying, the couple launched Brazilian Roots Cultural Center to help others cultivate fitness, creativity, and friendships. During classes for kids and adults, Gui draws upon years of experience as a capoeira teacher and performer, which includes gigs at Yale University and the Museum of the City of New York. Students weave cunning kicks, escapes, and acrobatics into a game more fun than hopscotch with a baby kangaroo. The classes also double as music performances as students learn to play traditional instruments and sing in Portuguese. Joy funnels her yoga and dance training into relaxing Vinyasa classes. In addition to hosting classes, the 2,700-square-foot studio showcases art in an airy gallery space.