As an expert in kung fu and tae kwon do, Louis Charron had learned to wield his body as a weapon. After a time, however, he felt that his martial arts repertoire had ceased to expand—how was he supposed to respond on a dime to dangerous situations if his technique couldn't adapt? It wasn't until he began to specialize in krav maga that he experienced a combat system that continuously evolved, honing rapid-fire reactions to real-life scenarios. Louis dedicated himself to mastering the same self-defense maneuvers utilized by the Israeli Defense Forces, and today runs Close Combat and Fitness as lead instructor and the Louisiana State Director for the International Krav Maga Federation.
Inside the training facility, Louis teaches students to build from the body's natural movements and ward off armed and unarmed attackers, demonstrating tactics for offense, defense, and evasion. He maintains that fostering a positive mindset can create the best sense of security, second only to the confidence that comes from wearing brass knuckles on your hands and feet. That sense of security can particularly benefit youngsters, who gain the confidence to ignore bullies and the self-discipline to succeed in their studies. Guests of all fitness levels can benefit from his lessons, which have been featured on WWL-TV and Cox Sports Television Fitness 411 for their growing influence on the martial-arts scene.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
Nani Cusson switches gears from tango to swing as easily as she pivots on the floor. The certified dance instructor has mastered a library of styles, including the elegant steps of the waltz, the twirls of salsa, and the fluid dips of the foxtrot. When teaching, she coaches only one person or pair at a time—that way, she can adjust her guidance to suit their skill level, and not just resort to the one dance that everyone can do: the first fourth of the YMCA. Her tutelage therefore pushes clients toward specific goals, whether they hope to dance in competitions, learn a wedding routine, or simply carry themselves with confidence. Her studio welcomes students seven days a week by appointment, and she also leads group classes by request.
Yoga 108's staff of local yogis teaches Bikram yoga in a studio dedicated to this popular subset of Hatha yoga. During more than 30 weekly classes, students practice up to 26 unique asanas—or poses—in a toasty room whose heat is designed to benefit the body by increasing its strength, flexibility, and fly-swatting accuracy. Instructors continuously circle the room to give timely feedback and alter students' poses.
Dubbed a “powerhouse of comedy” by the Austin Chronicle, The New Movement unleashes a dizzying number of comedy shows that belie the institution’s young age. Founded in 2009 by improvisers Chris Trew and Tami Nelson, the theater and conservatory has already established itself in two cities, training fledgling performers in the art of the extemporaneous by inspiring them to take comedic risks on stage, whether it’s connecting emotionally with a character or performing actual surgery. Whether or not the performers are costumed or bearing props, they aim to create a fully realized world on stage through grounded situations and elegant but always creative transitions between scenes.
Offering BYOB art classes in a welcoming, instructor-assisted atmosphere, Corks N Canvas provides a laidback setting for self-expression. Participants will receive step-by-step instruction to craft striking artwork they can take home at the end of the session and place above their mantle, secret trap-door bookcase, or army-men-figurine reenactment of the battle of Pork Chop Hill. Choose among several sessions (click on the address of your chosen location to see a calendar of events) that teach budding strokesters to paint vibrant doggie portraits, landscapes, or abstract-expressionist renditions of the DMV. The creative paintventure may finally spark the dormant artist within that’s been reclusively hiding like Boo Radley since the finger-painting period.