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.
Kimberly Aguirre began dancing at the age when most kids are learning to write. She wore her dancing shoes all the way through college, earning five different certifications before light-tripping her way to the head of a dance studio in a local community center. Under her leadership, the studio expanded to a standalone facility and became Pointe of Grace. With a curriculum drawn from Aguirre's extensive background, instructors teach tap, ballet, jazz and hip-hop to everyone from adults to teens and toddlers. Her Zumba classes hit the ground running as she infuses the Latin-dance-based class with her shimmying prowess. Students looking for the fitness benefits of functional movement without wanting to feel threatened that the rhythm is going to get them can tone and limber muscles in one of Pointe of Grace’s yoga classes.
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.
Swim Girl, Inc. teaches young tadpoles a valuable life skill and athletic activity that will keep them in shape and out of sharks throughout their lives. Parents can be assured that swimmers will learn important water safety skills from pre-screened swim instructors, who are certified through the National Swim School Association in swim instruction, and the National Red Cross in CPR, first aid, lifeguarding, and giving world-class high-fives. All instructors boast State of Arizona Preschool Licensing, and each staff member receives an observation and evaluation every four-week session. Future Michael Phelps record-breakers are evaluated by age, physical size, strength, abilities, gill possession, and desire before being placed in one of 10 class levels that will nurture their Neptunian efforts. Students and parents receive regular progress reports and assessments, as well as an underwater photo and certificate of completion for each session. Please see the schedule to plan your progeny's life aquatic.