Karate West is one of the largest martial arts schools in the country. Inside the 9,000-square-foot Issaquah training facility or the Mercer Island branch, kids and adults learn classic karate and self-defense moves, while also developing self-respect and discipline for both themselves and one another. Certified instructors lead students through traditional belt programs designed for kids as young as three, as well a specialized programs such as a women's only course, combat hapkido course, and a weapons program where students learn how to properly wield a bo, cane, sword, and loaded seltzer bottle.
The skilled instructors at Krav Maga Eastside Training Center lead students through practical, stress-reducing workouts that hone real-life self-defense skills. As the official hand-to-hand combat system of the Israel Defense Forces, krav maga teaches simple principles that correspond to instinctive movements, training participants to protect themselves against chokes, grabs, weapons, or overly aggressive handshakes from mayoral candidates. Three one-hour group classes educate participants in the basic krav maga skills, and a three-hour Rape Prevention or Intro to Krav Maga course prepare students physically and mentally to fight off would-be assailants. The five-week krav maga self-defense course gives a small group of enrollees a thorough introduction to defensive combat techniques, and includes hand wraps to support and protect flying fists as they throw punches and compete in bare-knuckle Whac-A-Mole tournaments. Call ahead to schedule your first class.
Aside from covering your body with pepper and entering the fetal position, the human knows a limited number of self-defense techniques. Today's side deal educates you in the Japanese martial art of aikido with eight classes, a month's worth, at Washington Aiki Kwai for $40. With two classes a week—Mondays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.—you'll work with instructor John Kanetomi to learn to defend yourself while not inflicting pain on your attacker, thus making you a benevolent almost-victim.
There's more than one way to defend yourself. Just ask Alpha Martial Arts' instructors, who include muay thai world champions Kru Alberto Ramirez and his wife, Ariana Ramirez, who has appeared on Oxygen's reality show Fight Girls. Kru Alberto and Ariana teach the adult Muay Thai kickboxing classes, while Chris Herman and Silas Ness teach the Kenpo Karate programs. These master fighters teach teens and adults an array of martial arts techniques, including the strikes of karate and muay thai, all while helping them shed pounds and tone muscles. Alpha's team also coordinates youth martial arts programs for ages 4–12.
Despite immigrating to North America, Mestre Curisco and Contra Mestre Lua Branca chose not to leave their native Brazil entirely behind them. The duo founded Capoeira Malês—a community-run, non-profit organization—as a way to share Brazilian cultural traditions with the Seattle community. One of these traditions is capoeira: the movement-based Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music, and dance. At the studio, students build strength, flexibility, while also honing their confidence and self-control during each class. Capoeira is only one of the center's offerings, though. It also features samba classes that introduce attendees to the Afro-Brazilian dance while accompanied by live music.
Parkour Visions teaches aspiring traceurs_—the French word for parkour practitioners—how to overcome physical obstacles. Though the sport's origins are a bit fuzzy, it has achieved a wider audience thanks to the many parkour videos uploaded to Youtube as well as the popularity of the television show _American Ninja Warrior. These all highlight the purpose of parkour: to improve speed, strength, and coordination while learning how to move efficiently through your environment. At Parkour Visions's three locations, seasoned traceurs teach students of all skill levels and ages how to safely execute basic movements and landings, and, as a non-profit organization, they pay it forward by working with parks to help maintain their grounds and encourage safe outdoor training.