The grappling fighting style known as jujitsu first came to Brazil in 1914 stored in the hands and mind of Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese immigrant and master of the art. He only stayed a year, but it was enough time to plant the seeds for a new jujitsu academy in Brazil. One of the first students at that academy was Hélio Gracie.
Hélio absorbed the fighting style quickly, adapting many of the techniques to suit his small frame. He discovered methods of leverage that allowed him to execute joint locks, choke holds, and takedowns on much larger opponents, forming the core of his new Gracie jujitsu method. Ultimately, Hélio's son Royce brought the fighting style to America, famously winning UFC 1, 2, and 4 by defeating opponents many times his own size. Suddenly, Americans lined up to learn this newly unveiled Brazilian fighting style, demonstrating their eagerness by folding themselves inside a box and shipping themselves south.
Relson Gracie, Hélio's second oldest son, chose to be an ambassador of his family's fighting style. He was already teaching abroad when his little brother Royce skyrocketed Brazilian jujitsu to popularity. He founded his first school under the name Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Hawaii, and as the art became popular, he opened new branches of his academy all across the United States. Today, he visits more than 40 academies and associations, sharing his knowledge with thousands of students. In his absence, he leaves instructors whom he personally trained to oversee the education of aspiring fighters.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Founded in 1903, New Britain Museum of American Art was designated the first museum in the country to be dedicated exclusively to American artwork. Upon its founding, wealthy industrialist John Butler Talcott endowed the museum with a hefty sum of gold bonds and bottled phoenix tears with which to purchase modern oil paintings. The collection blossomed to include other artistic media over time, and it now consists of more than 10,000 works spanning more than three centuries of American creative endeavor. The museum's permanent collections showcase works by noted American artists ranging from Norman Rockwell to John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt to Georgia O'Keeffe. Along with rotating exhibitions and borrowed collections, the museum showcases work by emerging artists.
As the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, the Rock Cats clubhouse is baseball's equivalent of an arboretum, blossoming in the summer with big-league-ready talent while nurturing future pros, a laundry list of baseball all-stars that has previously included Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, David Ortiz, and Torii Hunter. Following the frenetic lead of Rocky, a full roster of mascots entices eyes with various forms of family-friendly entertainment throughout each game. An extra dose of off-the-field entertainment can also be savored inside the ballpark's Fun Zone, where fans test their skills by smacking baseballs in a homerun derby, throwing fastballs with speed pitch, or swinging an oversize hot dog to prepare for the day when professional baseball decides all bats must be meat-based.
At Studiomixx, owner and trainer Shandi Rooney applies the principle of muscle confusion—adding variety to a workout’s exercises—to help her students avoid plateaus as they evolve through her intense, calorie-burning Mixx fitness classes. Her main class, Mixx, keeps muscles guessing and stimulated under the influence of Pilates, yoga, and callisthenic exercises. Rooney, who has trained with Bravo channel personal trainer Jackie Warner and The Biggest Loser’s Jillian Michaels, also offers a handful of spinoff classes such as Mixx Lite for less advanced students, CardioMixx, and Circuit Mixx, as well as grueling, detoxifying Xtreme Barre classes that can burn hundreds of calories per session, or one pile of freshly raked leaves.
The six teachers at Cutting Edge Quilts combine their individual quilting savvy to lead students through a wide range of classes. Amid myriad fabrics and ample creative space, the studio's long-arm quilting machine lets students sew their quilt top, batting, and backing together in a more-time-efficient manner than by using traditional machines or bribing a silkworm. Various quilting groups meet regularly, focusing on different techniques such as hand-sewing and scraps as they take advantage of the studio's gargantuan collection of threads, kits, and specialty fabrics such as Batik and Moda.