We meet Saturday mornings at Yesler Community Center, just east of downtown. During the summer, we train at Gasworks Park, at the north end of Lake Union.
Current classes are held at Yesler Community Center at 10am on Saturday. Following are registration links through Seattle Parks and Recreation.
If you already have a SPARC account for registering for these sessions, you can call the Seattle Parks and Recreation Business Service Center at (206) 684-5177 to get your login ID and PIN. If you don’t already have an account, you can request one at the Yesler Community Center front desk, or visit the following URL:
What are practices like?
A coach leads the practice session. We do about 80 minutes of organized technical practice. Our practice emphasizes strong hitting, footwork, and fundamentals. Generally, we also do applications of the concepts (specific scenarios, specific weapons: e.g., you have a stick and someone attacks with a staff). The remainder of the session is more free form. We have been doing sparring lately using various padded weapons and protective gear.
All the club members work together during the technical practice. Our goal is to organize workouts that flow, that provide good cardio and strength training, and allow students enough time and repetition to improve specific skills. We try to minimize talking/lecturing, as we feel that people mainly get better by moving.
I am a newbie. Will this work for me?
Our classes are beginner-friendly, but are definitely aimed at a sweet spot of intermediate capability, so that all the club members can get the training they need. That said, we are an accommodating and welcoming bunch, and you will have lots of support as you start figuring things out.
We will get you moving with all the club members. We do about 70-80 minutes of structured drill during each practice. We all work together, beginners and advanced, during this time.
At first, you will feel overwhelmed. Gradually that feeling will be replaced with some moments of greater confidence, coupled with an understanding of the complexity of weapons fighting. Most people are moving well by the third month, and have considerable proficiency within a year. You have to give this some time, and realize that ultimately, it is up to you to progress. Key is showing up for practice consistently, and sticking with it long enough to get past the clumsy beginner stage (a 6-12 month process for most people).
I am an experienced martial artist. Will this work for me?
We welcome experienced athletes from all martial arts styles and sports. Our conceptual teaching approach allows everyone to retain the athletic skills that work, while using the concepts to build upon those skills.
Because we are based on a conceptual curriculum rather than a technical curriculum, and because we have no set hierarchy of “basics” versus “advanced,” you will be able to get moving immediately with things that really work. We won’t tell you to put on a white belt.
Sometimes we get experienced players who come to us with preconceived ideas of what Filipino martial arts (FMA) are all about. They may have learned certain drills or patterns at a seminar, and wonder why they don’t see those in the class. Sometimes also, people have preconceived ideas about what constitutes “advanced” weapons fighting. These preconceived ideas can lead some to conclude that our approach is too “basic” and not “advanced” enough.
Our philosophy is that basics are all that really matter; they are all that you can really count on in a violent encounter; and so, they comprise the majority of our practice. Through our concept of transition, you will see that the basics apply freely to a variety of weapon types, fighting ranges and situations. If you are a collector of “flashy” drills, you might want to look elsewhere. There are plenty of FMA instructors who will teach seminars chock-full of complex patterns and drills.
Is this safe?
Participants of any athletic activity assume certain risks. We all have real jobs and outside lives and cannot afford to be injured during class. Safety starts with you.
What are the costs?
The Yesler Community Center sessions cost $25/month. There’s also about $75-100 worth of equipment that you should plan on purchasing within the first couple of months.
What equipment do I need?
We try to be low-key about equipment. However, there are a few things you’ll need to maximize your training with us, and contribute to successful practices. See our suppliers page for where to get this stuff.
Required equipment (plan to purchase within first month or so)
- A fencing mask rated “three-weapon” – these range from $50 – $150. The more expensive ones have a higher impact rating, and stainless steel mesh. High end Moderate The mask enables your partner to position the weapon closer to your face, thus increasing the realism of practice.
- Protective gloves – hockey or lacrosse – these can range from $5 – $150/pair, depending upon the style and whether you can find them used. Gloves protect your hands from dings during sparring or various practice drills.
- Bag or MMA gloves for hitting pads/targets. These protect your hands when punching a focus mitt.
Nice to have equipment (depending on your interest / specialty)
We have loaner equipment for much of this, but it’s good to pick a weapon that you like, buy it so you can play around with it at home, and also fend off burglars.
- Pair of 25-30″ rattan sticks
- Rattan staff (6′-7′)
- A longsword waster
- A blunted training knife
- A blunted machete
You should also have a suitable bag to carry the short weapons in, so as not to attract the wrong kind of attention while you are traveling to class.
Is there a way to keep up to date with club events?
Visit our contact page and sign up for our email list.