Since its beginnings in 1980, Staten Island Fencing Club has developed the skills of collegiate athletes and Olympic hopefuls under the guidance of head coach and founder Steve Khinoy, a Johns Hopkins PhD with more than 30 years of coaching experience. In 2010, the club—once relegated to college cafeterias and church basements—took up permanent residence at Staten Island Fencing Center, a full-time facility as bright and spacious as the Man in the Moon's front yard, complete with fencing strips, an armory, and a pro shop. There, Dr. Khinoy cultivates an atmosphere of camaraderie, teaching both novice and advanced swordsmen to master the Olympic and NCAA sport's triumvirate of blades: foils, sabers, and épées.
Beyond the center's one-hour introductory lessons, regular courses stretch for several weeks, during which competitors learn the strategies and fancy footwork necessary to best opponents on the piste and during freestyle dance contests. Summertime day camps and clinics sharpen slashing technique with five hours of daily instruction that include warm-ups, basic drills, and individual lessons. The staff also hosts parties for birthdays or other celebrations, in which guests practice the art of dueling amid cake, refreshments, and bouquets of colorful balloons shrieking in terror.
Intoxx Fitness's trainers push groups of students to their limits in search of better fitness and stronger bodies during classes such as kickboxing, spinning, and Zumba. Though the gyms' schedules vary by location, each hosts classes for all skill levels seven days a week, both in the morning and evening. The gym floor includes a large free-weight and machine lifting area for ample opportunity to supplement in-class workouts with more targeted exercises, for which personal trainers can assist with tips, tricks, and advice on chatting up that single weight machine.
Hands-on learning and playtime in JW Tumbles’ interactive classes help children explore the far reaches of their cranial caverns. Parents with toddlers younger than 3 years old can enroll in parent-participation classes such as Squeakers Class, geared toward four- to 10-month-olds, Little Maestros is a musical adventure for kids four months to five years, or Wobblers Class, where baby bodybuilders 11 to 18 months old practice tumbling and balance to increase motor skills and decrease the need for sippy-cup creatine shakes. Ages 3 and older can fly solo—parents can watch from the sidelines if they wish—during age-appropriate and highly interactive independent classes. The Stompers Class prep 3- to 4.5-year-olds for kindergarten, while Specialty Classes introduces kids from 3 to 7 years old to specific forms of fun in a non-competitive environment. Each class meets once a week, leaving plenty of time for use of the playspace passes.
At Demarco's Boxing Club, pugilists and exercisers alike torch calories and boost heart rates during vigorous training and fitness classes. Members can join the gym's fight team to prepare for an upcoming bout, or sign up for white collar boxing, a more fitness-focused approach in which students beat the starch out of collared shirts. The gym also hosts drop-in sessions, including personal training workouts and cardio kickboxing classes that tone bodies with aerobics, plyometrics, and bagwork.
Warriors of Wresting hosts high-flying acrobatics and punishing choke holds as roster of characters vie for the championship. Fans from across the tri-state region revel as faces and heels step in the ring for one on one or tag team gauntlet matches. The animosity and energy spills into all characters of this close-knit fighting world, as fans watch the shifting loyalties and blood feuds develop over the course of monthly live event.
Twenty-eight armed soldiers swarm between two stories, ducking and weaving to avoid the sharp eyes of their opponents. Or so the story often unfolds during laser-tag sessions in FunTime America’s state-of-the-art laser-tag arena. Though it may be the most adrenaline-pumping portion of the family-friendly play place, it's but an introduction to the variety of attractions that unfolds before visitors. Guests helm bumper cars, take flight in helicopters, or race to scale the 20-foot climbing wall, whose foothold arrangements offer four difficulty levels from easy to easy for people with wings. Once playtime comes to a simmer, the video-game arcade really shines with its air-hockey tables and sit-down games that take imaginations on the road to their pixilated lands. After kids have tired themselves out, they can refuel at the USA Cafe with pizza, pretzels, and other fare to boost energy before another go around the center beckons.