Amid the mythical landscapes and thrilling martial-arts battles in the film Mortal Kombat, you might see Richard Branden performing swift punches and mighty kicks as an outland warrior. Richard’s role in Mortal Kombat is just one of his many motion-picture credits, which include a stunt-double role in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the Yin-Yang Man in WMAC Masters. The internationally renowned warrior has been practicing in martial arts since 1976, earning more than 35 international titles and six gold medals in chinese kung fu. A firm believer in the practice’s ability to enhance discipline and focus, as well as strength and agility, Branden opened Studio Kicks Palo Alto to help students of all ages reap martial arts’ many benefits.
Bright red and blue mats sweep across the floor of the expansive studio, where Branden and his staff conduct a variety of combat-centric classes. The trainers lead energetic circuit-training routines and kickboxing combinations in adult fitness classes, helping students improve form and technique as they work toward sliming their physiques and toning their muscles. Youngsters and adults alike can enroll in the martial-arts program, where instructors guide students through movements, techniques, and training exercises that aim to boost power, flexibility, and strength. In addition to improving physical fitness, the program’s curriculum seeks to bolster self-confidence, much like an Armani blazer with the padded shoulders and biceps already sown in.
First conceived nearly 50 years ago, the dream of the Oshman Family JCC officially came to fruition in 2009 as a sprawling, 45,000-square-foot campus that welcomes people of all backgrounds. The Richard & Rhoda Goldman Sports & Wellness Complex hosts more than 90 group fitness classes per week, complementing these sessions with basketball and volleyball games. An outdoor, 81-degree pool supplies six lanes for swimming laps and connects with a sun deck that's ideal for relaxing with a good book or identifying barbell-shaped cloud formations. But the center focuses on enriching people's lives through other means as well. It supports families via kid-friendly camps, activities, and early-childhood education programs. It also hosts cultural events in the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall, spotlighting the works of renowned artists, musicians, and authors.
Darryl Kalthof of Bay Area Flying Lessons holds an FAA certificate as an airline transport pilot and ratings as an advanced ground instructor, honors earned over a distinguished two-decade career as a certified flight instructor. Today, he oversees a fleet of Cessna and Piper airplanes that act as airborne classrooms for his pupils, who range from 10-year-olds taking their first mechanical flights to advanced pilots earning certificates in commercial, multi-engine, and tail-wheel aviation. Lessons make use of the airspace surrounding San Francisco Bay, yielding panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean as well as many notable landmarks, including Dumbarton Bridge’s low ribbon of road and Stanford Stadium’s 70-foot animatronic statue of Bill Walsh.
Originally founded in 1970 to give high-school and college students a chance to hone their onstage skills, TheatreWorks dedicated itself early on to promoting new work that grappled with America's changing social landscape. Exploring the experiences of ethnic and cultural minorities, the group built a following throughout the subsequent decades, growing to its present size of 41 permanent staffers, an annual budget of $7 million, and 8,000 subscribers. Its New Works Initiative continues to seek out up-and-coming voices from around the country, helping new playwrights find their footing and prompting embittered older writers to test new pseudonyms.
YogaSource's locally and internationally educated instructors combine their varied experience to teach prospective posers the worldly art of frame folding. A wide variety of classes ensures that students of all abilities and ages can find a course to suit their limb-limbering needs. Drop in for a restorative-yoga-and-meditation class to boost your mental strength and ability to communicate with grass, try out heated Bikram yoga to learn traditional postures and improve balance, or saunter into belly dancing to put some shimmy in your step and hypnotize other customers in the checkout line.
Palomo Archery's certified instructors teach bow beginners the fundamentals of safely aiming and shooting feathered projectiles from the comfort of a brightly lit indoor shooting range. Each one-hour lesson emphasizes various safety precautions as arrow slingers learn the different parts of a bow's anatomy, various aiming strategies, and how to shoot an arrow without injuring any cartoon merry men in the vicinity. After each step in the tutorial, students cull fletching from quiver to practice incorporating the demonstrated technique themselves. Students can show up with nothing more than a pair of itchy quiver fingers, but seasoned archers, like amateur astronauts, are encouraged to bring their own equipment. To prevent mishaps, shooters should avoid wearing open-toe shoes, baggy clothing, or arrow pheromones.
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