American Kempo Karate Academy founder Mark DiNino is an eighth-degree black belt—and a father. In fact, three of his own children train at the academy, meaning the South Shore native shares many of the same hopes and concerns as other parents of AKKA students. But he also understands the benefits children can reap from the academy's program, which since 1995 has improved fitness and increased self-confidence, discipline, and concentration. Of course, kids aren't the only one's who can benefit from a boost in self-esteem, which is why AKKA also offers an adult program, where grownups can achieve similar gains and release stress brought on by their job or lack of homework.
Continuing the mission started in London more than 160 years ago, YMCA Smithfield provides quality, accessible fitness and wellness programs to families. Members enjoy full access to the center's fitness opportunities, whether they're burning calories in the gym, gliding through laps in the pool, or joining fellow members in classes ranging from kickboxing to Pilates. YMCA Smithfield also houses the organization's signature children's programming, helping kids get ready for school with pre-K enrichment or prepping them for a semester abroad in Atlantis with swim lessons. Before- and afterschool programs also give kids a safe spot to play while parents are at work.
Throughout the past three decades martial artist Bob Salisbury has dabbled in an array of martial arts styles—shaolin kempo karate and taekwondo, to name a few—but his specialty is kosho ryu kempo. At his studio, RI Fitness & Martial Arts, he and his staff teach this and other martial arts styles to students of all ages. Their adult classes focus on improving self-defense techniques, whereas youth classes focus on boosting self-esteem. Meanwhile, cardio kickboxing, boot camp, and kettlebell training classes can also help students pack a stronger punch and or whittle their way into a size smaller black belt.
Jimmy Bombard helps students develop consistent, sound swing mechanics through lessons at Wentworth Hills Country Club and Crystal Lake Golf Club. He's been a PGA professional for more than two decades—a span that's equipped him with a firm mastery of the game of golf. Jimmy's instruction instills a foundation of sustainable techniques, from teeing off with the driver to sinking putts with the putter and driving off in the golf cart with an opponent's golf bag.
Practitioners of kenpo, jujitsu, muay thai, and other forms, the instructors at Sullivan's USA Karate are standard-bearers for many martial-arts traditions. But it isn't just self-defense and physical training?the New England schools teach students to practice patience, to use their minds before their muscles, and to develop the sense of discipline needed to avenge their teachers' fender-benders.
Ocean State Rock Climbing's instructors guide climbers step-by-step as they progress from their first time on a wall until they tackle advanced problems. Initially, they put novices through a series of entry-level routes. As their climbers advance, they then teach them to belay and master more advanced skills such as lead climbing.
These journeys from beginner to master take place amid the towering walls of Ocean State Rock Climbing's gym. Secured by top ropes, rock climbers scale colorful routes and solve increasingly challenging problems. Crash pads create safe landings as visitors climb across bouldering routes or practice being trolls within two bouldering caves.