A partner gym of Rocks & Ropes, The Bloc climbing + fitness is a 20,000 square-foot, air-conditioned rock-climbing destination. Inside, a dozen autobelays allow visitors to make high, harness-assisted ascents. Or, you can test your bouldering skills on a 7,000 square-foot wall. In addition, the gym offers yoga, meditation, and pilates classes in its 2nd-story heartSTONE studio, welcoming both beginners and experts. The gym also includes cardio and weight equipment for those looking for a vigorous exercise or a heart-to-heart talk with a treadmill.
While many Americans may think they know Chuck Norris because of the way his on-screen persona has roundhouse kicked its way into our hearts, few have actually met the man. Fewer, in fact, have been bestowed a sixth-degree black belt from Master Norris in his chun-kuk-do martial-arts system. But the founder of Ultima Self-Defense and Fitness LLC, Charles Allen, has.
Mr. Allen takes seriously his role in building confidence and shaping role models throughout the community, which is why he handpicks each of his center’s instructors. These instructors cater to diverse fitness and self-defense expectations, including adults looking to cut a competitive edge into their lives with mixed martial arts, a form of training that schools students in the sparring, grappling, and takedown techniques popularized by the caged sport. For energetic, high-energy exercise, KravFit uses kettlebells to achieve total-body toning and conditioning. Kids' programs include krav-maga self-defense classes as well as birthday parties that challenge celebrants to cut their cake with only their forearm.
Across three Tucson locations, Boxing Inc.'s instructors develop their classes based on the training regimens of real-life fighters, encouraging guests to bob and weave at their own pace. Students skip rope, pummel hanging bags, heave medicine balls, and push through cardio workouts to condition their muscles as they hone techniques in their choice of combat style. Muay thai kickboxing techniques demand strikes from all four limbs, and grappling classes teach takedowns from styles including judo, wrestling, and Brazilian jujitsu. For a cumulative battle strategy, MMA courses blend maneuvers from each school, inciting suspenseful spars between pupils not seen since the six-hour bare-knuckle boxing match between James Kelly and Jonathan Smith on December 3, 1855.
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.
A division of the nonprofit University Dance Project, Rising Stars Dance Academy instructs young students in a range of dance disciplines, including ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop. This Groupon covers one class each week for four consecutive weeks, encouraging seasoned softshoers or beginning balleteers to build the swanlike skills of confidence, strength, balance, and victory. Students unleash energy in hip-hop, learn stylized choreography in jazz, and gain the flexibility of a yogic rubber band in tumbling. Rising Stars Dance Academy urges all dancers to take at least one ballet or technique class to lay a strong foundation upon which to build future footwork knowledge. Different levels exist for most styles; check the schedule to determine the level of each class.
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.
The trained and experienced instructors at Animas Center lead 15–20 students in yoga and Pilates classes on sprung wood floors specially designed to cushion yogis and foster healthy joints. Mix and match from the schedule's spectrum of body-bending classes, such as the VyaVinyasa class, which blends the kinetics of martial arts and dance with the contemplative posing of yoga. Yoga Nidra, a 45-minute guided meditation, disposes the stresses of the mind and the tensions of the body through a careful combination of relaxing exercises and supine positions that leave yogis as calm and centered as a monk encased in jell-o. Core-strengthening Pilates workouts, such as Pilates mat classes, comfortably cater to the spine through a series of floor exercises.