Philadelphia is a multifaceted metropolis with people of all different backgrounds and expertise. This explains the many diverse workshops offered throughout the city, varying from culinary classes, to Italian folk dance classes and self-defense classes. It really doesn’t matter what your interest, because you’re sure to find something in the city’s array of workshops that appeals to you. Also, no worries if you’re a student with little time and money because many workshops offer student discounts and a “come as you may” type of schedule.
Do you Kung Fu?
Self-defense classes are a great way to work out, while learning safety tactics. Classes are offered weekly by Laurence Whitaker in his Urban Defense Fitness Center located on 725 N. Sixth St. Whitaker, a sixth degree black belt, has been training people in local gyms since 1996. He opened his own studio two years ago to create a center with more of a personal and relaxed atmosphere. These classes are created for both women and men to learn self-defense tactics and heightened awareness of one’s surroundings. Kickboxing and Ju Jitsu, a restraining art, are also taught. Beginner and advanced classes are held on Mondays at 6:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m. The first week of classes is free. The monthly fee is $90 or $75 with a student discount. There is also a $10 discount if you bring a friend. To contact the Urban Defense Fitness Center call (267) 259-3936.
With the stressors we encounter daily, meditative practices such as yoga or Qigong are a good way to release tension. Qigong is an ancient Daoist Chinese meditative exercise geared at relaxation and healing. It has great physical and emotional health benefits. With a basis in Daoist philosophy it does not hinder one’s spiritual convictions. Instructor Paul Martin has been practicing since the 1990s and has studied under several internationally known Qigong masters. The classes cater to people at all levels with a guided meditation and postural types of exercises. Qigong classes are held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Hospital Wellness Center located at 330 S. Ninth St. It is $10 per class or five classes for $45 and ten classes for $85. To get more information call 1-800-789-PENN.
French Fries and French Toast
For those taking French or interested in French culture, the Alliance Francaise offers a monthly meeting in Center City focusing on learning conversational French. The Alliance Francaise is also a good source of information on French events around the city. Membership costs $20 a year with the student discount. This includes a monthly newsletter featuring discounted or free events for members. Contact Martine Chauvet for more information at (215) 735-5283.
Working with a live model is important for artists to develop skills. The Philadelphia Sketch Club offers three-hour long painting, drawing and printmaking workshops with live models in the afternoons and evenings. The Sketch Club is the longest running art club in the area maintained by artists themselves. It is a historic building with spacious and well equipped studios. The sessions offer open enrollment and cost $5 with the student discount. The Sketch Club is located on Camac and Latimer streets in Center City. For more information visit their Web site at www.sketchclub.org or call (215) 545-9298.
Sarah Mumma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.