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Frequently Asked Questions
Do you teach kids?
No, you must be at least eighteen years old to be a member.
Do you teach beginners?
Yes, of course.
Do you teach women?
Again, of course.
Being that women are far more likely to be targeted by violent criminals, the emphasis on not only being armed but also having effective tools for dealing with an armed attacker make the Filipino martial arts an equalizer for women.
How much do you charge for classes?
Our membership fees are reasonable and competitive. Learn more here.
What is your class schedule?
We have group classes three days a week. The schedule is here.
How big are your classes?
The average class size is six to eight students.
Can I try out a class?
Probably yes, but you will need to speak with the teacher first.
What should I wear?
The school uniform is simple and practical – a medium weight pullover-style uniform top (made by Century) resembling a traditional 'gi,' plain black shorts or gi pants and what we call 'mat-dedicated' athletic shoes, meaning you only wear them for training (we recommend black wrestling shoes from Asics or Adidas or indoor soccer shoes).
How long does it take to become reasonably skilled?
That depends on the individual student's aptitude but there is generally a marked difference between a newer student and a day-one beginner after just a few months of training.
Consider this, though, if it's going to take a year or more to get past that feeling of wandering around in the dark that every beginner goes through, that time is going to pass whether you train or not, so you might as well train... and the sooner you start, the sooner you can look back and say, "I don't know why I didn't start sooner."
Can older adults become students?
Yes, absolutely. Mark has had a number of students start in their sixties and train into their late eighties.
Do I need to be in shape?
That depends on what you mean by 'in shape.'
If you are morbidly obese, it would be our recommendation that you get into a guided program of proper nutrition and exercise to get your weight under control before enrolling.
Otherwise, if you're generally healthy, there should be no issue with you training here. If in doubt, ask your physician.
Do you train for competition?
No. The mindset for competition rightfully emphasizes sportsmanship and strict adherence to rules designed to keep the competitors safe, and neither of those things has any place in training to defend one's life.
Do you teach law enforcement officers?
Yes, but know that the teacher will need to see the officer's unredacted service record.*
* Any complaints about civil rights violations, intimidation or excessive use of force (regardless of whether or not they resulted in disciplinary action against the officer) will likely block that officer's application to become a member of the school.
Scientists who study human behavior agree that past behavior is a useful marker for future behavior and Guro Mikita will not be a party to acts of brutality committed under color of authority.
Do you accept challenges?
No. Grow up. Fighting is illegal and, no matter how physically challenging and invigorating it is to your 'warrior spirit' to engage in the particular form of sparring you do, sparring is not fighting.
Moreover, if you actually think it's a good idea to call a martial arts school (a knife-fighting school, no less) to lay down an idiotic challenge, we would urge you to seek psychological counseling.
In any case, life is not a kung fu movie and if you walk into our school to challenge us, we're probably just going to call the police.
Can I come in and spar with your students?
This question always raises a red flag and is typically asked by sociopathic meatheads looking to commit assault and battery on the unsuspecting under what they wrongly presume to be the legal protection of a liability release.
Unless you join the school and earn that privilege by showing yourself to be a reliably safe and conscientious training partner, the answer is no, you cannot come in and spar with our students.
And to the obvious follow-up question: Do we teach meatheads? The answer is also no.
Can FMA (Filipino martial arts) beat (fill in the blank – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, etc.)?
Answer #1 Yes.
Answer #2 No.
Answer #3 Maybe.
Answer #4 Maybe not.
Answer #5 Who knows
It depends on who's fighting, why and where, along with other mitigating factors that have little or nothing to do with which arts those individuals are involved in.
The reality is: anybody can be had on any given day, no matter how skilled they are or what art they practice – including FMA, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, etc.
What measures do you take to assure the safety of your members?
The arts we practice here were deliberately designed to inflict grievous bodily injury or death on a would-be assailant or enemy combatant.
Hence, while maintaining safety is always our first and foremost concern, it must be understood that, by its very nature, the practice of martial arts is inherently dangerous and, regardless of how vigilant we are (and we are extremely vigilant), there remains an element of danger that cannot be eliminated.
Therefore, if you choose to train here, know that you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK.
I'm certified by (so and so) to teach (such and such). Are you hiring instructors?
This is one of those questions that might prompt me to ask: do you want the polite answer or the honest answer?
First of all, I do not hire instructors. I know it's not the norm in many if not most martial arts schools these days but, being that it's my school and my name is on all of the marketing materials, I actually teach all the classes.
To the more complicated issue raised by the aspiring teacher's mention of their 'certified' instructor status, I have to say that, over the years, a scattering of such no doubt well-intentioned individuals have come through the door of my school with their nifty little certificates in hand, presuming that their ‘certified' instructor status would mean something to me. It didn't and it still doesn't.
However official and impressive it may appear, a sheet of paper that they likely spent an inordinate amount of money to get signed by whomever doesn’t convince me that they have taken possession of the art to such depth and degree that their personal insights will be of value to students.
The only thing a piece of paper certifies is that they were willing to tow the party line; to kowtow to some teacher, organization or, as you will find mentioned elsewhere in this website, some draconian presence lurking behind the scenes and pulling the strings, to get it.
I would not study with such an instructor myself and I certainly wouldn’t allow them to infect my students with that approach to learning and mastering these arts.
Therefore, if you aspire to teach and be respected as a teacher, distinguish yourself. Embody the very principles you expound on when you teach. Live the teachings.
Upon a foundation of honor and integrity, your knowledge and skill coupled with your ability to convey that knowledge and impart that skill to others are the only credentials that mean anything.
What is the point of training with sticks when I am unlikely to have a stick with me if I'm attacked?
This is one of the most common questions about the Filipino martial arts.
It is often said that weapons are merely an extension of the hand but, if that were true, then it would stand to reason that anyone well versed in a strictly empty hand martial art could simply pick up a weapon and their skills would be readily adaptable... but that is not the case.
In reality, most empty-hand martial arts that have proven to be effective in sport combat were originally derived from weapon-based systems.
For example, Muay Thai has its roots in a battlefield system called Krabi Krabong, which is known for its use of double swords, as well as several other weapons. Modern sport boxing – as we now know it – has a lot more in common with the brutal Filipino martial art of Suntukan than it does with the classic old palms-up fisticuffs style made famous by the likes of John L. Sullivan. Dirty Boxing, as it is aptly called, was derived from the combative use of two knives and was observed with keen interest by American soldiers and marines during the Philippine Insurrection (1898-1902) and the Moro Rebellion (1899-1913) and subsequently found its way back to the United States. Similarly, long before it was essentially neutered for warfare and transformed into the competitive sport of Judo in 1882 (and from which, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was subsequently derived, notably absent the use of weapons), the samurai art of Jiu Jitsu not only included the use of numerous 'minor' weapons (such as the jutte, yawara and tanto) but was, itself, a system of what the military today calls 'combatives,' designed to function in support of the swords, spears and bows used on the battlefield.
The truth is weapons are not so much an extension of the hand as unarmed or empty-hand techniques are an extension of weapon-based techniques.
Hence, the almost unbreakable rattan sticks that are the mainstay of Filipino martial arts training are not only weapons in and of themselves but they also serve as facsimiles of any handheld weapon. Moreover, training with sticks teaches the very same core principles of controlling distance, time and position at speeds that require the practitioner to react considerably faster than any unarmed opponent could ever strike. A world-class boxer can snap his jab out at around thirty miles per hour, tops. By comparison, in the hand of only a moderately skilled exponent of the Filipino martial arts, a stick can easily exceed seventy-five miles per hour and do a hell of a lot more damage when it lands.
On another point, ringside color commentators and fans alike will often remark on how good a particular boxer's 'chin' is (meaning that he can take solid punches without getting knocked out), but no one with half a brain would ever walk into a Filipino martial arts school and taunt a guy holding a weapon in his hand readily capable of turning bone to dust and snapping teeth off at the gums with the classic "hit me with your best shot" as he goads him by sticking his chin out. Likewise, we've found that inflated egos and magnified machismo tend not to be a problem as testosterone-fueled fantasies of invincibility or indomitable toughness quickly fade when the sticks (or knives) come out.
Simply put, weapons change everything, and when it comes to training to defend one's life or the life of another, their presence alone keeps reality and pragmatism in the forefront.
Can I concentrate on training in the weapon-focused classes only?
Absolutely. This question is often asked by prospective students who are already training in another martial art and want to gain an understanding of weapons and Mark encourages such cross-training.
I'm not really interested in the sticks. Can I focus on knife fighting?
Yes, but only if you study privately. However, even then, to learn the art properly, you will still be training with the stick.
More importantly, one shouldn't presume that the defensive use of a knife is so different in principle that it warrants singular focus to the exclusion of all the other aspects of the art.
Knife and counter-knife fighting skills are an integral component of the Filipino martial arts and cross-referencing the other components is proven to be the best way to fully understand each one individually.
Do you sell equipment?
No, but we will be happy to assist you in acquiring the gear you'll need for training.
Do you have showers?
Do you train actors who want to do action roles?
Yes, Mark is available to work privately with actors preparing for upcoming roles.
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