At World Black Ryu Martial Arts, instructors strive to teach lessons that extend beyond punches and roundhouse kicks. Instructors impart mental strength and self-discipline to students 3 and older. Their Little Dragon youth training program helps improve social and motor skills in a constructive environment, and adult classes blend elements of jujitsu, karate, and kenpo.
For tennis players, the elements are not only capable of spoiling an outdoor match or practice session entirely, they can also be taxing to the body in the long-term, especially for those trying to put in the court time required to attain greatness. That reality was behind the creation of Hampton Indoor Tennis Center, which—unlike most sunbaked, wind-lashed, and rain-beaten tennis complexs—offers players a respite from the weather with four indoor courts. Underneath low-glare lights, players trade ground strokes and volleys atop blue-and-green courts that provide a medium-speed bounce and are identical in composition to the hard-court surface of the Indian Wells courts where the BNP Paribas Open is played. Tennis balls pop crisply against racket strings as trainers teach youngsters on a miniature court with dimensions suited to the de-pressurized balls that foster proper stroke development in undersized racquet-wielders.
USPTA-certified tennis instructor Otis Vu draws upon a decorated career, during which he says he played singles and doubles at Oklahoma Wesleyan University and once beat Michael Chang in a doubles set. He uses this background to forge formidable players, emphasizing proper footwork, conditioning, and not accidentally shouting one’s social security number while serving. He and his staff preside over a wide range of adult lessons, including clinics in which players learn alongside others of the same skill level and one-hour cardio tennis sessions, which feature a series of high-energy drills. The Center’s junior tennis program helps youngsters meet on-court goals of all kinds, from those simply looking to play recreationally to those hoping to grow into an elite competitor.
Cottonwood Golf Center's nine-hole executive course sharpens straight shots with one par 4 and eight par 3 holes. Duffer duets amble through the meandering fairways, launch dimpled orbs through 2,466 yards of emerald alleys, and defeat lesser opponents in pull-cart street races. The scenic course overlooks rugged hills and scraggly pines, thwarting off-kilter shots with a petite water hazard filled with foghorn-wielding ducks. Players can supply their own clubs, rent one of the facility's sets ($5), or thwack golf balls with the neighbor's flamingo lawn ornaments.
In 2003, the teaching staffs behind the Butler-Fearon and the O’Connor-Kennedy Schools realized something: though both academies nurtured the physical, mental, and competitive skills of scores of young Irish dancers, they could form a more robust program by combining forces. Once united, the team of Rose Fearon, Vincent O’Connor, and Kathleen O’Connor—each a certified Irish dance adjudicator—implemented a revised curriculum reaching students from both American coasts to the solid-ice skyscrapers of Ontario. Today, Butler-Fearon-O'Connor trains everyone from girls buckling their jig shoes for the first time to experienced adults, many of whom—such as 2011 world champion Emily Penner—have danced competitively at home or across the pond and landed spots on touring companies for shows such as Riverdance.
Focusing on perfecting traditional form and technique, classes are kept as small as possible, ensuring personalized attention from one of the school's 10 experienced, decorated instructors. Students also learn stamina, flexibility, and presentation, with an emphasis on avoiding motions that tend to draw judges' ire, such as clumsy arm placement and badgering the audience. Many locations also host more casual classes for adults and groups such as Girl Scout troops.
A portion of Thresh Hold Climbing + Fitness's website is dedicated to the passionate climbers who make up the company's staff, whose stories of adrenaline rushes and summits surmounted are shared through video clips. These instructors welcome climbers of all skill levels into the world of bouldering and top-rope climbing with classes that are accessible even for novices and open practice sessions held in an expansive indoor gym. Hundreds of routes pepper the gym's rock-feature walls, replete with multihued routes that delineate difficulty and viable holds and crimp boards that help to build finger strength without constantly challenging strangers to thumb wars. Those without equipment can rent climbing shoes, harnesses, and chalk bags for an additional fee.
Dramatic elevation changes and a labyrinthine layout designed with no parallel fairways coalesce to create the scenic 6,104-yard, par 70 course at Indian Hills Golf Club. Throughout the round, the verdant splendor of the Jurupa Valley and the rising crags of the Riverside County foothills draw eyes to distant vistas, stealing attention away from crucial club-selection decisions when hitting up or down significant slopes or defending your bag against roaming fishermen hoping to find divot tools to use as lures.