More than 60 times a day, Skydive Air Adventures' King Air jump plane climbs to nearly 3 miles above the earth's surface. Once there, instructors strap themselves to novice divers and plunge out of the aircraft during tandem flights. The frequency of these dives has allowed some of them to rack up serious airtime; many instructors have more than 8,000 dives under their belts, including Carl Smith, who has jumped from planes and escalators to heaven more than 14,900 times. To keep track of all these jumps, Skydive Air Adventures can shoot photos and videos of every wind-blown expression and ear-to-ear grin.
Kids' karate is one of the specialties at American T.K.A. Universal Martial Arts, and it's no surprise: the gym goes so far as to pick students up after school so that they can take part in their hobby as soon as the bell rings. Though karate joins tae kwon do and MMA as three of their programs tailored specifically to children, the staff also guides adults through martial-arts training as well. After 15 years at the same location, American T.K.A.'s offerings also include muay thai, boxing for kids and adults, and aerobics-style kickboxing for grownups.
In one, fluid motion, an advanced student of Batto slashes his sword through the air. Gracefully, the live blade slices through a bundle of saturated straw—a dense target meant to simulate the resistance of a body or a stack of unpaid credit card bills. At Genbu-Kai Karate, Batto is one of two specialty programs that utilizes weapons in its training. But the facility doesn't rely solely on weapons to teach martial arts. While seasoned students may eventually choose to pick up a sword, instructors emphasize mental focus and discipline in Japan Karate-Do. In karate, students learn to kicks, punches, chops, and other self-defense moves that incorporate all parts of the body including hands, feet, elbows, and fingers.
Discipline is a theme that carries through all of the facility's programs, starting with the Little Ninja program for kids aged 4–6. They offer junior karate, adult karate, and Okinawan weapon. As a family owned and operated business, primary instructors Shihan Fumio Demura and Sensei Keith Moore alongside their crew of dedicated teachers, attend weekly sessions to perfect their practice.
Twenty-nine thousand square feet of space. Forty-five group fitness classes per week. More than 30,000 pounds of free weights. As impressive as the numbers may be, it's the attention to personal detail that the trainers at Ultima Fitness pride themselves on. They work one-on-one with clients to achieve specific fitness goals and lead classes ranging from the lighthearted fun of Zumba to the competitive intensity of cardio kickboxing. While parents work out with the trainers, the gym welcomes children up to 12 years old into their kids' club, a supervised play area. Additionally, separate from the gym's 100 strength-training machines and 70 pieces of cardio equipment lies a women's only workout area, featuring much of the same equipment.
Stretching across 2,200 acres of pristine grounds, Polo West is a multisport facility designed to host high-energy entertainment that brings together such athletic endeavors as golf, rodeos, and polo matches. Though the entire complex is not yet fully open, the Pete Dye–designed golf course has opened the emerald corridors of its nine-hole, water-laden layout, challenging golfers to resist the urge to steer their cart out onto the polo field in hopes to create a new hybrid sport. After putting out on the final green, golfers can retire to the stately clubhouse or refuel at one of the onsite dining options, such as a Latin American restaurant and a cantina bar.