At YK Martial Arts, students train and learn in a rigorous yet supportive environment where instructors marry technique with the principles of respect, discipline, and compassion. A 6th dan black belt in tae kwon do and a 5th dan black belt in hapkido, Grandmaster Yong-ki Yoon leads a seasoned group of instructors. Classes can help develop the motor skills of children aged 3 and older and work with adults to challenge and improve flexibility, fitness, and energy levels.
At Initial TKD Martial Arts, Ms. Ke and Mr. D.—third-degree black-belt instructors and winners of the 2009 Illinois State Championship in Forms—combine 26 years of experience to foster strength and increased self-confidence in students aged 4 and older through tae kwon do practices. The duo operates under the philosophy that students flourish best in an atmosphere without pressure, and in order to foster a stress-free environment, the instructors personalize lessons to fit individual pupils’ needs. Natural light bathes the hardwood floors within the studio, and an area dedicated to viewers allows parents or guardians to watch their child, spouse, or ambitious pet kangaroo ascend through the dojo’s colored-belt system.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop—then called Pete's Subway—proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway restaurants number more than 34,000 around the world—almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Salads free crisp veggies from bread's overprotective embrace, and crunchy baked chips or apple slices accompany entrees to tables. Subway's website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutrition information and fastest mile time online.
All of the trainers at Nate's Premium Athletes hold exercise-science degrees with athletic-training minors. They use this expertise to develop training programs that focus on their clients' individual weaknesses, such as strength, balance, and agility. So far, the trainers have worked with more than 85 Division I athletes.
The instructors at United Elite MMA preach a well-rounded approach to physical and mental fitness. Inside their 5,000-square-foot facility, pupils of all ages learn MMA, Brazilian jujitsu, wrestling, and boxing in a manner that simultaneously builds skills for strength training, conditioning, and self-defense. Participants benefit from the use of a full-size MMA cage, a full-size boxing ring, and 1,500 square feet of mats.
Chuck Masny describes himself as an “eternal student of the martial arts,” always learning more about his chosen disciplines despite the black belts in Goshin jiujitsu and American karate that already encircle his waist. Chuck brings his insatiable appetite for refinement to his classes, encouraging his students to ask why a technique is performed a certain way or to adjust motions to suit their unique physiques. This allows students to determine what mix of fitness exercise and self-defense training best suits their needs.
Chuck’s youth programs focus on developing not only the physical fitness skills that will grow into combat ability, but also the mental skills important to a child’s scholastic success. Kids practice listening and self-discipline and engage in a “bully-proofing” program in which they learn how to deflect insults by mentally transforming their bodies into rubber. Adult classes swing the focus to the practical underpinnings of self-defense, studying why and how certain moves and combinations work to arm students against real-world violence. Chuck also schedules cardio-enriched kickboxing classes, which incinerate calories in a furnace powered by flying fists and feet.