In Renato Tavares's storied career, which spans more than three decades if you count the 90s, he's won more than 200 grappling and Brazilian jiujitsu championships around the world. With all this experience tucked under his black belt, Renato decided to open up American Top Team. In this spacious 6,000-square-foot facility, he joins forces with a staff of four other black belts to teach students the discipline and artistry of mixed martial arts. Each week they churn through more than 30 classes targeted to men, women, and kids of all skill levels. These classes focus on the aforementioned Brazilian jiujitsu and grappling, as well as self-defense, kickboxing, and combat striking.
The colorful specks flying above Indian River Lagoon are not rainbows, they’re giant kites. Whereas in the past if you wanted something to pull you through water you had to have a boat or a willingness to touch any kind of dorsal fin, kiteboards take out the middleman by uniting a board, thin lines, and a long, billowing kite soaring high above to keep riders buoyant as they soak up sun. Endless Windz’s certified PASA kiteboarding instructors teach their students the ropes of these whimsical devices during private and group lessons. The staff doesn’t make students go straight to the water, however, instead offering introductory on-land instruction in a safe and easy to learn environment. Once students are confident enough to go out on their own, the staff can provide jetski assistants called "downwinders" for extended rides, or help them purchase the best Naish, F-One, or Ocean Rodeo kites and boards to suit their needs.
Surfguys Surf School steers seafaring adventurers on a scenic journey along the Space Coast. First-time paddlers learn boarding basics in a 10-minute on-land overview followed by a 20-minute briefing at sea designed to aid oceanic explorers in summoning their sea legs. During the two-hour tour, as many as five stand-up paddlers soak up calming natural stimuli, from the vast ocean to the abundant fauna. Along the way, travelers may spot dolphins, manatees, cranes, and vacationing penguins. Surfguys provides all requisite paddling equipment, but patrons are advised to bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a light-colored T-shirt to attract compliments from fashion-savvy dolphins. Tours are on a request basis and best scheduled during the morning when weather conditions are ideal.
A full-service dive shop captained by professional ocean-delvers, Sea Level Scuba offers a spectrum of scuba classes aimed at every experience level. The Discover Scuba Diving course is an introductory class for subaquatic rookies, set in the shallow water of an indoor pool for a stress-free primer in underwater respiration. PADI-certified divemasters and instructors outfit students with all the necessary equipment, familiarizing landlocked limbs and torsos with the feel of scuba gear both in and out of the water. Apprentices practice breathing below the surface at whatever pace is most comfortable, progressing beyond the fundamentals of inhalation and exhalation to advanced sighs and indignant gasps, ideal for last-minute objections to mermaid weddings.
Bows, mounted game heads, and military memorabilia decorate the walls at Action Gun & Archery, but this instructional facility's archery equipment isn't just for show. Staff instructors teach one-on-one, hands-on lessons that cover the basics of hunting and target-shooting. Practice is held on the facility's 20-yard indoor archery and crossbow range, which offers a chance to shoot at real targets. On the other hand, customers can aim for digital targets—a Techno HUNT simulator lets users practice their bow technique on virtual, moving prey without the danger of touching a weird forest bug. Action Gun & Archery also houses a shop filled with Victory arrows and bows by brands such as Bowtech, Hoyt, and Mathews. Not all of the wares are pre-made and name-brand though: the shop's technicians craft custom arrows and bow-strings upon request, and also repair compound and traditional bows.
At Master Lowell's Mixed Martial Arts, experienced martial artists help clients increase flexibility, develop self-defense skills, and relieve stress through classes in disciplines such as MMA, Brazilian jujitsu, and muay thai kickboxing. In his earlier days, Master Jonathan Lowell competed internationally in martial-arts tournaments, winning medals in California and Florida state competitions and training in Japan and Israel. Today, he imparts the wisdom he has gained over the decades through his gym's varied curriculum.
Alpha Omega Combat's instructors come from significantly different backgrounds but share a main focus: a dedication to self-defense. Calling upon their studies in hapkido, tactical firearm use, and krav maga, they have learned to stay safe in dynamic situations, a trait they reveal in a six-day schedule of five classes. Elite krav-maga training serves as the cornerstone of their program, showcasing the Israeli Defense Force's dynamic fighting technique that draws from many different martial arts. They also run a women's self-defense course to prepares ladies for split-second decision making if threatened, and split firearm-combat courses between the classroom and the range.