When Aikido instructor Elliot Freeman discovered martial arts as a teenager, his interest knew no bounds. He searched for and attempted to master as many forms as he could find, including Kendo, Tae Kwando, and sword. When he heard rumors that the mysterious style known as Aikido could grant practitioners the ability to throw people across the room without touching them or secretly attaching their pant legs to a trebuchet, he knew he found what would be the bedrock to his entire career. He eventually studied under acclaimed Aikido masters, earned top ratings in the National Karate Assocation and American Karate Association, and formed various programs and dojos. In 1993 Freeman journeyed to St. Louis to study with action-film star Sensei Steven Seagal at his Aikido summer camp. Seagal became so impressed with Freeman that he asked him to open a new school in St. Louis. Freeman readily agreed, founding Three Rivers Aikido where he still acts as chief instructor alongside many other Master Instructors. Freeman, along with 12 other Aikido instructors, welcomes students of all ages to come and train within the 3,500-square-foot dojo.
In addition to the martial-arts training offered at the dojo, Yoga instructor Alyona Komolova, a former Russian ballerina, offers classes to help students increase flexibility. Tai Chi Instructor Justin Meehan, a martial-arts veteran of 38 years, instructs attendees in tai chi, a relaxing flow of prescribed motions that balance body and mind.
Master Ken O'Neill, who has been practicing martial arts since 1969, and has experience with Aikido, Mauy Thai, Filipino Kali-Escrima, jujustu, Russian Systema, and more.
Smiling faces cover Escape From St. Louis's online leader board, but don't let their carefree expressions fool you. It's not easy to make it into the escape room's hall of fame. Focused teamwork and critical thinking are needed to solve the clues, puzzles, and themed stories inside each room, where the 60-minute time limit ticks closer and closer to either victory or defeat. Here's a quick look at what happens once Escape From St. Louis locks the door and (proverbially) throws away the key.
A Ghost Story
Twenty-five years ago, a murder was committed inside the same house where players are now trapped. The culprit was never found, but clues point to his or her identity. There's just one problem: The murdered woman's ghost is now haunting the house, and if you don't solve the crime, she'll take her revenge. Difficulty level: hard.
Escape from Detention
What's more terrifying than a ghost? Detention with notorious stickler Ms. Hinkle, of course. In order to reclaim their afternoons, players will need to solve the puzzles and clues that stand in the way of their freedom. This room is for truly competitive teams, as groups can reserve two rooms and play head to head. Difficulty level: medium.
Shane Perrin’s love for the standup paddleboard led him to set a world record as the first person to use the simple vehicle to travel the Missouri River’s 340 miles between Kansas City and Columbia. His trek even made him the subject of the documentary Stand Up Guy, which chronicles his odyssey against more than 100 kayakers and canoeists in the sixth annual Missouri River 340.
When he’s not looking for another stretch of water to conquer or out paddling for the Pau Hana Surf Supply team, Shane shares his passion through lessons and guided tours for all levels of outdoorsmen. Venturing out onto waters such as the Meramec River, Shane pays meticulous attention to every detail to help guests have a positive, memorable experience. He starts by matching each client with a standup-paddleboard outfit that suits their stature, which facilitates proper maneuvering. He then provides ongoing training as he guides guests past wildlife such as deer, hawks, and the beavers who built the river’s hydroelectric dams.
Studio Altius’s owner, photographer David J. Cerven, drew on his background in theater to create a new approach to portraiture. Like directors and actors, or producers and theater critics who owe them a favor, Cerven’s photographers and clients work collaboratively to create defining moments. Along with fellow photographer Shawna Ventimiglia's background in fashion design, Cerven creates personal, compelling images of children and families, high-school seniors, brides, and couples, as well as professional headshots and sexy boudoir images. Clients can pose in either his 3,000-square-foot studio or outside the studio in a picturesque outdoor setting. In addition to working with clients, Cerven teaches his methods to other photographers in portraiture workshops and classes, and maintains an on-site art gallery.
The Heights Community Center brings the neighborhood's athletes and exercise hobbyists together in its 73,000-square-foot health and wellness complex. Guests jog and climb aboard the cardio room's Precor and Life Fitness treadmills, stair climbers, and elliptical trainers. Nearby, patrons can buff up with the help of free weights or cable machines. Their state-of-the-art aquatic center fuses the athletic benefits swimming laps in a pool with the fun of trying to swim up a two-story waterslide. To infuse fun into workouts, the youth fitness center throws youngsters into a healthy lifestyle with Wii video games, Dance Dance Revolution, and strength-training equipment designed specifically for adolescents. Onsite childcare safeguards tots too young for the youth center, and a full-service library exercises minds by fastening each book with a Rubik's Cube lock.
Each year, Shaw Park Ice Rink's opening celebration ushers in the start of winter in Clayton. Located in Shaw Park, the city's oldest and largest green space, the outdoor ice rink features fun events throughout the winter. The cold-weather fun continues throughout the season when the rink hosts public-skating sessions, hockey practices, and birthday parties.