John Wai is a living bridge between the ancient and modern styles of kung fu. Born in Hong Kong and schooled in the orthodox traditions of martial arts, Wai was already a kung-fu master by the time he opened his first academy in 1997. He has managed to stay relevant by combining the ancient approach with a modern, practical outlook that draws in a wider range of students. His classes—which include fitness kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu as well as kung fu—focus on things such as exercise, stress-relief, and self-defense, and he also offers a summer camp where kids learn discipline, self-confidence, and how to open a care package with a single well-timed kick.
Founded by Chief Master William Clark, Karate America is a popular martial-arts school that believes martial arts can make people happier and healthier. With locations around Florida, Karate America is staffed by highly trained instructors teaching children and adults the self-defense moves of tae kwon do, krav maga, and kickboxing. While training in a team-like atmosphere in each of these classes, members learn self-discipline and respect, gain lean muscle, and burn calories.
A teaching veteran of more than two decades, Barry Fitzpatrick oversees The Academy at Plantation Preserve Golf Course's PGA-certified instruction program that helps students hone every aspect of their game. During initial evaluations, golfers uncover subtle flaws in their technique, from poor alignment to debilitating hitches in their backswings and celebratory fist pumps. In private sessions or in groups, students then work with Barry to improve their mechanics, covering the fundamentals of balance, grip, and posture while incorporating video analysis.
At Baby Otter Swim School, a team of nationally certified instructors demystifies the water for infants and adults alike, thwarting tragedy with techniques for lifelong safety. After raising their own children to fear neither pools nor natural bodies of water, owners Mindy and Marlene pioneered their flagship Turn, Kick, Reach program—a method that teaches children 10 months and older how to handle a spill into the water—as a tool for preventing drowning. For other classes, they follow a five-day model that demonstrates basic and advanced aquatic skills, such as mastering strokes or putting out fires with nothing more than a drinking straw, a glass of water, and elbow grease. Their curriculum has helped firefighter and police cadets, three-month-old babies, senior citizens, and celebrities. Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson grew so enamored of the program after it taught him to swim that he became the school's spokesperson and set out on a water-safety campaign featured in the Sun Sentinel. Gwyneth Paltrow has also praised the instructors for the "tremendous confidence" that her daughter, Apple, gained as a result of the training.
From January 20 to 22, some of football's biggest stars?including Hall-of-Famers Chris Doleman, Bob Griese, and Anthony Mu?oz?try their hand at a different game at Jacaranda Golf Club. Proceeds from the charity golf tournament will benefit the Children's Diagnostic & Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale. Guests can stick to the sidelines and cheer on their favorite players, or join them on Jacaranda's newly restored east and west courses, which are four-star rated by Golf Digest. Other highlights include a dinner cruise on-board the Floridian Princess, a gala awards ceremony and fashion show, and the thrill of knowing you could be tackled by John Randle at any moment.
Kids' karate is one of the specialties at American T.K.A. Universal Martial Arts, and it's no surprise: the gym goes so far as to pick students up after school so that they can take part in their hobby as soon as the bell rings. Though karate joins tae kwon do and MMA as three of their programs tailored specifically to children, the staff also guides adults through martial-arts training as well. After 15 years at the same location, American T.K.A.'s offerings also include muay thai, boxing for kids and adults, and aerobics-style kickboxing for grownups.