Military personnel, police officers and detectives have something in common besides high-risk jobs: Dennis Hill. The chief instructor at Aiki Academy of Self Defense, armed with a black belt in judo and a brown belt in Brazilian jujitsu, has trained members of all three professions in the art of hand-to-hand combat. He also teaches civilians at his 4,000-square-foot dojo, voted New Haven’s best martial-arts studio in 2012 by CT.com readers.
Hill and his team helm more than 50 classes per week. Sessions traffic in styles that range from kickboxing-focused combat hapkido and muay thai to krav maga, a fighting style that readies people for no-rules brawls, such as street fights or bare-knuckle-boxing matches held on cruise ships once maritime law kicks in. Fitness classes from kettlebell workouts to flexibility-enhancing yoga complement the self-defense courses, as do amenities such as an onsite playroom and free coffee in the spacious waiting room.
Voted the Best Place to Buy Eyewear in 2011 by New Haven Advocate readers, Kennedy & Perkins Guild Opticians focuses gazes and outfits eyes in contemporary designer frames. Owners Richard Kennedy Jr. and J. Dart Messick keep up with the latest face-mounted fashions and airport vending machines by attending eyewear shows from Los Angeles to Milan. Drawing from nearly 1,000 designer frames ($99+), staff frame stylists can suggest styles ideally suited to customers' facial features.
Cliff Morton uses his years of experience to lead guests of all fitness levels through a variety of services. He customizes one-on-one training sessions to help guests reach their fitness goals, as well as offering group fitness classes that use full-body functional training to activate all muscles. He also challenges guests with obstacle course training.
At Connecticut Cycle Center, indoor spinning classes or triathlon training with coach Kelli Montgomery beckon students to wheel in their own bikes and affix them to cycling apparatuses. Both classes and training sessions emulate outdoor adventures thanks to ErgVideo and CompuTrainer systems, which mimic famous routes on TV screens. Virtual Tour de France inclines or Spanish plains challenge cyclists to push their endurance to the brink as they mingle with peers. Classes, like the art of hanging out in an operating laundry machine, range from beginner base spins to high-power interval training. Feedback after each session charts your ascent to fitness. High-quality Apex bikes are available for rental and can be taken to nearby roads for an alfresco adventure.
Acupuncture of Milford Connecticut’s Richard A. Covello earned a Best of New Haven 2011 nod for his extensive knowledge of acupuncture. His staff, including Stephanie Ortiz, LMT and Alexandria Attolino, LMT, performs relaxation and wellness massages, specializing in event, post-injury, and post-surgery modalities to help speed recovery.