Europe's Medieval and Renaissance eras were periods in which knights developed sophisticated systems for swordplay, martial arts, and looking really, really cool. Ottawa Swordplay's founder Craig Shackleton, who holds a degree in classical history, and his fellow instructor John Enzinas teach adults and kids to recreate the swordplay of these eras. They ground their curriculum in the research of Johannes Liechtenauer—who the instructors say unified the fighting arts of his time—and teachings from manuscripts that were compiled as far back as 1325.
After research sessions and discussions on sword theory, the instructors lead their students into a padded practice area for hands-on classes. They teach beginners how to grab hold of longswords—a two-handed weapon—and engage in unarmoured combat. Instructors Shackleton and Enzinas can also teach how to adapt these techniques to more advanced weapons, such as a German rapier, a single-handed weapon knights used while texting.
Since 1995, Golf O Max has given golfers access to some of the most renowned courses in the world, including Torrey Pines, Bethpage Black, and The Old Course at St. Andrews. Which isn't to say the company flies golfers around the globe and teaches them each country club's secret handshake. Instead, they bring all the world-class courses to Ottawa via 11 full-swing golf simulators that offer highly realistic recreations of every green and fairway.
In addition to hosting casual rounds with friends, Golf O Max holds lessons with its crew of CPGA professional instructors. Novice players are also encouraged use their simulators, which feature a best ball format to help newcomers master the basics. After a breakthrough lesson or a personal-best score on none other than Pebble Beach, players can celebrate at the 19th Hole, the in-house pub that pours beers to go with burgers and smoked meats.
Jenda Paddlesports' paddling buffs outfit aquatic adventurers with a broad assortment of water-slicing canoes and kayaks. Within the spacious confines of a rustic, renovated barn, customers test out watercrafts to secure a commodious fit for serene expeditions down nearby Rideau River or riveting voyages through unsupervised park fountains. For those in search of a seaworthy vessel, Jenda Paddlesports furnishes an assortment of touring/sea kayaks, and those who prefer to spend the day roving lakes and tributaries can set to drifting in a fibreglass canoe or recreational kayak. All rentals include paddles, personal flotation devices, and a safety kit, allowing customers to taunt fish about their poor water-polo skills from a safe and secure vantage point. A car-top kit, meanwhile, simplifies gear transportation to any of Poseidon's playgrounds.
Finding the perfect tea requires a sensitive palate. Kimicha's founder Kimiko Uriu has been working endlessly to do that; she selects each one of the shop's many offerings from the hundreds of different teas available in regions like China, India, and Japan. Her skill shows; she's a certified tea specialist and her selections have won awards from the North American Tea Championship.
She's not shy about passing those skills along, though. The shop hosts events that include tastings of new teas and classes that teach students to blend their own teas, pair foods and tea, or try teas from every region of the world. The shop stocks everything newly discovered aficionados might need as well, from ornate serving sets to sleek matcha bowls.
A renowned competitive fighter in the world of sport karate in the 1980s, Steve Anderson stays active in the modern martial-arts community by leading self-defense classes for children and adults with a team of experienced instructors. Kids as young as 3 years old begin their long journey toward wearing black belts and regular belts in the Little Dragons class, soon progressing to the Little Ninjas level and, finally, the youth karate program that aims to build their mind, body, and spirit. Students 14 and older can fine-tune their bodies and skills in several versions of kick-boxing classes, from the fast-paced cardio class to sessions at bags, where fighters learn to defend themselves in the case of a couch-cushion uprising.
At Play It Again Sports, locally owned and operated for 20 years, athletes suit up to conquer challenges on the ice, in the field, or on the court with new and used gear from major-league brands such as Bauer, Reebok, and Adidas. An ever-rotating inventory keeps lockers stocked with spare balls, dressers filled with run-ready shorts, and dens populated with gleaming treadmills. Proud recipients of the Gold Standard Store award, amiable staffers stand ready to answer questions or assist with fittings, ensuring that each athlete leaves with the appropriate gear for their needs. Neglected equipment ready to leave storage spaces and rejoin the sporting life can be traded in for cash or credit for gear, completing the ethereal Circle of Sports.