The motivational trainers at Force Kickboxing & Fittness refuse to hear the word ‘can't.' Instead, they motivate clients of all ages and abilities to overcome their perceived limitations while reaching their fitness goals. They help clients shape up self-defense and combat skills through kickboxing's unique blend of martial arts and boxing. When they're not helping clients hone accurate, powerful punches and kicks, these trainers are harnessing X-Treme Fitness's intense, functional movements to help students carve out svelte physiques that will allow them to finally pull the crashed spaceship out of their pool.
The diversity of programs at AZ Boxing & Fitness speaks to its instructors' belief that martial arts can hold the key to achieving fitness goals, no matter one's age or experience level. Classes for adults run the gamut from Zumba to boxing, which cover the basics of shadowboxing, footwork, and bagwork, to condition the body and relieve stress and calories. In addition to overseeing more than 40 classes a week, the instructors also run personal-training sessions, where they design fitness plans geared toward losing weight or improving athletic performance.
Tucson Community Music School students learn long-lasting skills from international recording artists and experienced concert musicians. The school's founding trio, Brice Winston, Doug Tidaback, and Scott Black serve as the school's primary instructors, each bringing a different set of skills. Tucson native Brice spent 16 years performing with Jazz notables such as Brian Blade and Nicholas Payton before recording with Herbie Hancock and recording music for Spike Lee Films. Doug toured as a bass trombonist for nine years with the Monterey Symphony, and served as lead trombonist for the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, all while winning awards in numerous jazz festivals across the country. A career educator, Scott spent years working with prominent educators such as Barry Harris, and has done everything from teaching private music lessons to directing jazz schools.
With such an experienced staff of educators, students of Tucson Community Music School have opportunities to learn the ins and out of performing that go beyond just reading notes. During jazz and concert band classes and workshops, fledgling performers practice working with fellow musicians, learning how to harmonize without stealing all of the more advanced students' reeds. Through the school's various endeavors, students may also have the opportunity to practice, record, and travel to concerts near and far.
Chris Cariaso, head trainer at Rise Combat Sports, knows a lot about the MMA, boxing, jujitsu, and muay thai classes the gym offers. Cariaso is a fighter who has fought in every top promotion known to mixed martial arts, including Strikeforce, Elite XC, World Extreme Cagefighting, and the UFC, and he has been teaching since he was just 16 years old.
Professional fighters such as Eddie “Crazy Face” Arizmendi and Chad “Grave Digger” Griggs call Apex Mixed Martial Arts home, but owners Joey “Boom Boom” and Nicole Rivera treat each client like a champion. Inside the cages and on the grappling mats, instructors lead a variety of martial-arts programs such as striking, adult and kids' MMA, grappling, capoeira, and professional practice. Native Brazilian Melissa Morgensen leads energetic Brazilian samba classes, and Apex also hosts other special events such as kids' camps.
The rich history of kenpo karate stretches as far back as the second century AD, when the number two was invented and renowned surgeon Hua T’o devised defensive exercises based on animal poses. The Asian sport continued to evolve over the intervening years, and in the 20th century, Ed Parker imported kenpo to the states and became not only the senior grandmaster of American kenpo, but also the “father of American Kenpo.” Today, Ed Parker Jr. carries on his father’s legacy as a member of the Master Council that presides over American Institute of Kenpo, along with other kenpo greats such as ninth-degree black belt Sigung Stephen LaBounty. The team of experts offers a guiding presence at the institute—Ed drops in for yearly camps and senior black-belt testing—and ensures the internationally certified instructors teach kenpo karate with the utmost attention to the principles of the sport.
Though kenpo is derived from ancient techniques, it encompasses contemporary self-defense and fitness methods. In the first lesson, students power through all the basics—the five ranges of combat and how to move swiftly—and form a sturdy foundation for increased strength, coordination, and flexibility. The center offers a wide range of programs for all ages and ability levels so that new pupils can master kenpo quickly and ascend through the belt-oriented ranks toward black.