After 17 years as a professional fighter and nine titles, kickboxing and karate champion Brian Schwartz stepped out of retirement to try his fists at MMA. A broken hand and, subsequently, the first professional loss of his career slowed him down, but not for long—the next year, he returned to face and beat that opponent. Naturally enough for a man who can’t let a new challenge go untested, Schwartz then turned his focus to a new endeavor: the creation of Undisputed Boxing Gym, where he would share the secrets of the fight with a new generation.
Schwartz has assembled a dynamic staff of fighters with backgrounds in jujitsu, boxing, tae kwon do, and kickboxing to train both aspiring fighters and average fitness enthusiasts. Students can tone up and learn self-defense techniques or even chase a spot in the gym's amateur competitive program. The sweat flows in expansive training facilities that include a tae kwon do dojo, a cycling studio, a set of 40 Everlast heavy bags, and displays that track class progress as well as show the music videos for the songs being played. An in-house chiropractor helps align muscles and massages away any knots from learning an especially brutal tickle submission.
In 1955, Dominick Chirichillo’s grandfather began teaching him the family pastime: winemaking. They worked on a wine press in the basement of his New York home, transforming bunches of grapes into nuanced reds and whites. Quickly finding that the hobby of his ancestors was his passion, Dominick entered his creations in amateur competitions around the East Coast. When he felt confident enough to open up his own winery, he moved to northern California, lured by the prospect of living and working right next door to the vineyards that grew his grapes. His winery—named Domenico to honor his Italian heritage—now produces boutique wines that have won more than 300 awards for their rich, complex palates and excellent scores in the swimsuit competition. Some varieties are made in batches of only 100 or 200 cases, allowing his staff to innovate fearlessly. Locals often drop by the winery’s spacious tasting room to sample these limited-edition flavors. Outfitted with a 24-foot mahogany bar and sweeping drapes, the tasting room recalls an elegant Tuscan café, complete with impeccable hospitality. The staff eagerly shares the undertones and flavors of every pour, suggesting potential food pairings or the best glass of red to throw at an offensive suitor.
Jeff Smith, a college swim coach and swim-club aquatics director, and Joan Smith, an NCAA all-American swimmer and triathlete, joined forces to open a swim academy that teaches youngsters how to swim safely while having fun. The pair operates two facilities, each with its own heated pool staffed by instructors who have all graduated from King's Swim Academy's training program. Their program begins with Parent and Me classes for kids as young as 6 months old, which introduce children to the water and teach basic skills such as kicking and changing their own diaper underwater. As students progress through the levels, they eventually learn skills such as freestyle swimming, backstroke, flip turns, and survival swimming. Instructors also lead a swim-technique and fitness class that prepares swimmers for swim team while promoting a healthy lifestyle and honing stroke skills.
Run by Stanford University's coaches' education trainer Mike Legarza and boasting a camper return rate of 90%, Legarza Basketball Camp develops young dribblers in a structured environment of positive support and fundamental basketball instruction, valuing hard work and effort. Morning camps focus on shooting and ball handling, as orb-bouncers will learn the basics of scoring and protecting the basketball. Players will be divided into teams for the week and play one game per day with a tournament at the end of the week. Afternoon camps concentrate on gameplay, as youngsters will be introduced to gamesmanship and strategy, such as when to feed the ball to the 7-footer in the post and when to feed the ball to the siberian tiger spotting up for a three-pointer.
An enormous arena made of stretchy trampolines is the centerpiece of Rockin' Jump, a 10,000-square-foot facility dedicated to the bouncing arts. In another elastic arena, jumpers spring into the air to slam-dunk balls into basketball hoops, or zig and zag during games of dodge ball. You can also vault off a trampoline launch pad into a huge pit of soft foam blocks.
Safety is key at Rockin' Jump. In addition to outfitting the place with ample padding and netting, the owners have employed trained Jump Patrol monitors to prevent overcrowding and unsafe jumping. With an onsite café and private party rooms, the springy playground is an ideal venue for kids' birthday celebrations and other special events.
When creating Affinity Badminton Club, the owners studied courts from around the world to develop playing conditions specially optimized for badminton. The results can be seen and felt on Affinity's seven custom-built courts made from four layers of material designed to create ideal traction for running and jumping. The 30-foot ceilings are painted black to improve overhead visibility and light fixtures are placed so they don't blind players or set fire to airborne shuttlecocks. In addition to drop-in play sessions, Affinity hosts group lessons for beginners and private one-on-one lessons for players of all ages and skill levels.
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