The coaches of D1 Speed Academy work with middle- and high-school athletes on generalized and sport-specific exercises to help them build strength and stamina. They offer a variety of programs that work on core strength and agility to help budding athletes in whichever sport they choose, from basketball to softball to Koosh ball tennis.
"We give kids the confidence to protect themselves." These eight words sum up the motto for MartialArtsProgramsforkids.com as well as the mission of their curriculum. At a wealth of locations along the East Coast, youngsters learn confidence, discipline, and respect as they boost skills in a variety of disciplines, including jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. The skills learned in these lessons can also help them defend themselves in the face of bullies and family cats that won't share the remote control.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classesthat cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
Over the course of a millennium and a half, the tradition of Shaolin Kung Fu has sojourned from the foot of Shaoshi Mountain to modern-day New York. The mindful martial art—equal parts meditation and physical training—crossed the ocean with Shi Guolin, a 34th-generation master of the art. He left his position as head coach at a Shaolin school in China to come to the States in 1992. Since opening his first school in New York, he founded four more branches in locations ranging from Port Washington to Flushing.
At each of these outposts, students can learn Shaolin kung-fu—a discipline that grew out of buddhism; traditional kung fu, which focuses more on physical stamina and strength; and Qigong, a form of wellness-building similar to yoga, developed in Shaolin monasteries. Even people who have never stepped foot in a dojo or formed an opinion about who would win in a fight between Bruce Lee and Kung Fu Panda can feel at home here. Trainers start at the beginning, and ease students in by practicing basic forms. They slowly introduce more techniques, weapon forms, and meditations into the training, all while transforming neophytes into steel-cut martial artists.
Equipment: Strength Bands, Agility Ladders, Weights, Circuit Training,
Students should bring: Bottle of Water, Towel, Yoga Mat
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: No
Parking: Free street parking
Pro Tip: Supportive fitness environment specializing in giving real people, real results. Bring 110% effort.
David Ross first found his tiny hands inside boxing gloves at the tender young age of eight, but punching was not the only thing he learned with them on. He also learned perseverance and self-discipline, lessons which he passes on to his students of all ages through New York San Da Kickboxing. Drawing on his multiple black belts in Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Chinese fighting styles, he teaches striking and grappling arts from around the world. The most intense class he offers prepares competitors for mixed martial arts tournaments, blending Ross’s – and his other instructors’ – many fighting styles into one devastating cocktail of techniques.