In order to receive the best martial-arts training, the founder of Long Island Asian Studies Center studied in, well, Asia. Tom Collings moved to Japan in 1976 to learn under pupils of Ueshiba, the creator of the aiki budo martial-arts method, and in 2007 he earned a sixth-degree black belt. Now Collings has become an instructor himself, teaching a wide cross-section of new martial-arts disciples, from police officers and veterans to children and people with disabilities. Collings is used to teaching self-defense: he's a 26-year vet of law enforcement as well as a certified New York State police safety instructor. Many of the other instructors have backgrounds in social work and youth psychiatry, too, making them uniquely qualified to hone mental discipline as well as physical skill.
At Long Island Asian Studies Center, Collings and his instructors teach aiki budo, which, unlike other martial arts, is noncompetitive and doesn't require a final exam of wrasslin' a bear with your bare hands. Instead, they focus on components such as multidirectional awareness, weapons training, and breathing exercises, as well as safety and respect for oneself and others. They also teach a mixture of Hatha yoga and yoga-related disciplines. In addition to martial arts, Tom Collings has spent several years in Asia studying meditation and yoga, making five trips to Japan and China. Now, he's one of New York's experts in qi gong, or Chinese yoga, which the Long Island Asian Studies Center also teaches, along with aiki taiso. Their gentle movements and relaxation exercises act as a form of preventative health care and give students the flexibility to shimmy into spandex pants.
Obnoxious Paintball offers 25,000 square feet of indoor, climate-controlled splatter heaven, with an X-Ball field (110'x125') equipped with labyrinths of inflatable rubber bunkers for strategy and shelter. Chromatic warriors brandish the exclusive, all-metal Planet Eclipse ETEK3 AM paintball gun, its compressed air tank rapidly ejecting a barrage of kaleidoscopic paint spheres that eliminate opponents from the game after transforming each one into a flesh-and-blood Jackson Pollock piece. Players can bring their own artistic armor or rent masks and chest protectors for $5 each.
Boy-band juggernaut and Nickelodeon sensation Big Time Rush shines like the sun’s sons as its hotly anticipated Big Time Summer Tour enraptures flocks of fans with pop bliss. The fab foursome, known as BTR to fans and preteen stenographers, first snatched the hearts of millions with its eponymous TV show, which is the most-watched live-action series in Nickelodeon’s history. On the group's choreographed carnival of a tour, expert hoofer and crooner Kendall Schmidt leads the affable cast of personalities, which includes James (the ladies' man), Carlos (the joker), and Logan (the smarty warty), through hits from its gold debut, BTR. Chart-topping sophomore album, Elevate, also sees its anthemic tunes represented, such as “Music Sounds Better With U” and “All Over Again.” Expect elastic dance moves from the dapper quadratic and possible numbers from the just-released Big Time Movie, in which BTR covers tunes by obscure boy band The Beatles. Australian wunderkind Cody Simpson starts the show with peppy rallies and aural morality plays about how love can be tough and why stealing your dad’s head to sneak into R-rated movies isn’t cool.
The more than a dozen brick-and-mortar locations that make up Ultimate Champions Taekwondo Association share not only a style of combat, but a teaching philosophy as well. Tracing the lineage of their combative art back to Grandmaster Sang K. Oh, the instructors adhere to his teachings, exemplified by the quote, "The person who can defeat others with flashy techniques but is without love toward his fellow man will in the end defeat himself." Students use the physical empowerment of mastering jumps, kicks, and weapons to arm themselves with discipline, confidence, concentration, self-respect, and courtesy for others.
Outside of the classroom, the organization reaches out to the tri-state community with ample demonstrations of some of their most exciting techniques. Practitioners soar skyward in flying kicks or fill the air with the whirring blows of nunchakus, bos, and kamas. Fists slam through boards, balloons, and bricks to demonstrate the striking power of tae kwon do and the structural flaws in the Three Little Pigs' panic room.
Donavon is a surfer-turned-musician whose self-titled debut was released on Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records and made the ARIA top 40 charts in 2004. In Mulcahy’s 1,400-person sound-o-sphere, his surf rock ballads, such as “It Don’t Matter” and “Move By Yourself,” will have the full force of live emotion and quality sound to superbly strum heartstrings and tickle earbones. Donavon’s Bermudan musical companion, Mishka, also has roots in the sea soil, having spent much of his childhood sailing and windsurfing before turning to reggae’s guitars and off-beat rhythms. In 2009, Mishka was named Best New Artist in the singer/songwriter category by iTunes.
The PADI- and first aid-certified instructors at QC Scuba school students in the slippery ways of underwater breathing apparati with hands-on courses held seven days a week. PADI designs its Discover Scuba course to expose students to breathing underwater, which is the most elemental of scuba techniques next to looking good in a wetsuit. After a brief introduction at QC headquarters, pool dives are held outdoors in Bellmore, Huntington, or Bayshore or indoors at Queensborough Community College or the Freeport Rec Center.