While other 11-year-old boys busied themselves by playing video games or training dogs to do their homework, Max Tzentis was training to be a champion martial artist. Month after month, Max poured his afternoons into judo, karate, and tae kwon do classes, eventually beginning training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. After years of teaching and coaching in various schools and training facilities throughout the local area, Max founded his own studio—Pure Performance Martial Arts Center.
Punching bags and functional-training equipment speckle the floor of his spacious studio, where Max and his team of expert martial-arts instructors teach classes in a sweeping range of styles from krav maga to boxing. In between lessons on movement, form, and technique, instructors lead students through high-intensity routines of cardio and strength-training exercises. In addition to classes for adults, the staff offers a training program for youngsters, where kids as young as 6 can hone fitness skills while building the confidence to stand up to bullies or ask a hardhearted hall monitor to prom.
At Potomac Paddlesports, the first professional kayak school to be endorsed by the American Canoe Association, the team of American Canoe Association– and British Canoe Union–certified instructors patiently lead students through a methodical progression of flat-water paddling skills. The classes cover a variety of watersports, including whitewater rafting, river and sea kayaking, and standup paddling. The small-group classes are designed to keep students engaged, and longer trips down the Potomac challenge their skills with powerful rapids surrounded by lush scenery, interspersed with rare glimpses of bears putting on their bear suits. Outside of class, students can bond with fellow paddlers during weekly sushi meals and occasional movie nights. Further demonstrating their dedication to bodies of water, Potomac Paddlesports works to preserve the nation’s rivers, estuaries, and oceans, sharing this passion with its members through advocacy and donations to conservation programs.
LA Boxing’s fight-centric gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, LA Boxing sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym’s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.
At TennisTopia, staffers help players optimize their thwacking abilities with a large inventory of rackets, balls, and other gear from brands such as Adidas, Nike, and Wilson and a variety of tennis-oriented services. Restringing keeps rackets in taut, top-notch shape, and the shop also equips male or female teams with the weapons and matching uniforms to wage battle against gophers popping up through the clay in the middle of matches.
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