Brand-new martial arts students begin with the blank slate of white belt. Learn where they go from there with Groupon?s look at martial arts belts.
There?s an old story about the evolution of the system of colored martial-arts belts: donning fresh white belts at first, trainees would let them darken over time with sweat and dirt, until, after years of increasing mastery, they turned almost black. If it sounds like a story that's too good to believe, it almost certainly is. Although the belt system is conceivably an ancient tradition handed down from sensei to sensei, its origins can be readily traced to the early 20th century. That?s when Dr. Jigoro Kano was developing a new form of physical education for Japanese public school students: judo, a safer version of the jujitsu fighting style. Facing an influx of new students, he devised a hierarchy of colored belts to illustrate their progress at a glance rather than having to ask each one to fight him every day.
How quickly athletes move up the ladder will depend on the teacher, the dojo, and the style, in addition to their skills. They may advance by taking a formal exam with practical, oral, and written sections; they may be asked to spar with students in the next level to prove their readiness; or they may be awarded a different color belt because the old one clashes with their eyes. And in any discipline, tying on a black belt doesn?t mean you?ve made it. Instead, one might think of it as being inducted into an advanced training program. In karate, for instance, there are 10 grades of black belts, some of which require up to 10 years of study to attain.
The grill masters at Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse stay true to their culinary roots with a distinctly South American cooking tradition, which begins with hormone-free meat from cows that were fed a vegetable-only diet and raised on pastures instead of in cages. Manning a cast-iron grill stoked by locally sourced hardwoods, the expert chefs fire-kiss select cuts of beef to smoky perfection, infusing filet mignons, skirt steaks, and short ribs with rustic flavors that pair harmoniously with the restaurant’s robust selection of Argentinean red wines.
Although Caminito’s wood-fired steaks have earned it the Valley Advocate’s award for Best Steak House from 2010 through 2013, the menu proves that the restaurant does not live and die by expertly charred beef. Lobster-filled ravioli, pan-seared salmon, and seasoned chicken breasts showcase the kitchen team’s culinary repertoire, in addition to vegetarian entrees that aren't just snapshots of steak printed on soy paper. Refreshing sips of ale from Peak Organic Brewing Company complement hearty bites, and spoonfuls of flan and mousse bring meals to their bittersweet conclusion. On weekends, the acoustic strumming of guitarist Alvaro Olvera Sanchez nourishes famished ears with flamenco notes and classic Spanish songs.
Licensed massage therapist Phutsog Wangamo has spent more than 25 years practicing traditional Tibetan medicine, an art that first appeared millennia ago and later assimilated elements from the Greek, Ayurvedic, and Chinese healing traditions. Along with graduates of the Shang Shung Institute School of Tibetan Medicine, Wangamo founded a healing center where she could share this ancient healing art with others.
Today, Shang Shung Tibetan Healing Center continues to earn new converts with a holistic approach that focuses on balancing the mind and body. The center’s wellness professionals address problems that range from stress and insomnia to the aches of old age. A personalized health consultation benefits first-time patients, recommending dietary and lifestyle changes based on individual factors. The wellness expert might also suggest kunye massage, a Tibetan healing art that incorporates medicinal oils, hot stones, pressure-point therapy, and assisted stretching. For a more general overview of holistic health, sit in on one of the center’s monthly public talks. These informal gatherings center on topics such as pediatrics in Tibetan medicine and how to prevent aging without freezing oneself in carbonite.
Acupuncturist and herbalist Kathryn Cadwgan sought the sources of oriental medicine abroad and studied in stateside clinics in order to develop Radiant Point Acupuncture's informed, alternative healthcare system for women. She initiated her inquiry aÓt Five Branches University in California, where she graduated with a master's degree in Chinese medicine and herbology. In 2007, she traveled to integrated hospitals in Hangzhou, China and immersed herself in the study of women’s health and Tui Na–style bodywork via trips on the magic school bus. A partnership with Kan Herb Company gave her insight into the brand's lab-tested formulas, and workshops in the United States and Thailand for Chi Nei T’sang abdominal massage enhanced her ability to facilitate digestion and ease menstruation. Today, Cadwgan pours more than a decade of experience into helping clients remain healthy during pregnancy and overcome fertility challenges, a topic she studied for four years while working with Nurture Acupuncture & Reproductive Endocrinologists in the San Francisco Bay Area. All treatments begin with a thorough health-history questionnaire, which Cadwgan reviews before consultations to discuss your medical concerns and interpret oblique fortune cookies.
The highly trained technicians at Jiffy Lube tend to about 24 million customers each year with services such as the Signature Service oil-change package, which promotes the longevity of each vehicle. Staffers acknowledge that oil plays a crucial role in maximizing the lifespan of each car—it cools the motor and prevents moving parts from deteriorating. More than 20,000 technicians who have completed an extensive training program certified by the National Institute Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) nurse vehicles at Jiffy Lube.
In addition to performing oil changes, Jiffy Lube’s savants perform air-filtration, electricity, and windshield services, among others. The technicians’ quality pledge includes a commitment to transparency, which stipulates that they will inform car owners of any necessary services, complete a service only after it has been approved, and refuse to replace windshields with Saran wrap.
The proprietor and chief guide behind Hilltown Wilderness Adventures, Marla BB, invites patrons to hitch their dreams of adventure onto the backs of her alaskan huskies for mushing, skijoring, and outdoor excursions in the Berkshires. Her hallmark attraction is mushing through both snowy hills and on dryland tracks—a unique offering for the region that has earned her attention from media outlets such as Mushing magazine and Animal Planet.
The skijoring and sled-dog school teaches novices how to captain a team of dogs either in a sled or on skis, which can give them give them a way to skip long ski-resort lift lines. Marla also leads day excursions through DAR State Forest, Chesterfield Gorge and Westfield River, and the Deerfield River Watershed, keeping bikers, hikers, kayakers, and bird watchers safe as she is a certified wilderness first responder and an expert in swift-water safety and rescue.