The Family Self Defense Center is exactly as its name suggests, a place for families to learn traditional and practical martial arts and self-defense. From the moment you start your first class you can tell that not only is this a warm environment, but the instructors know what they are talking about. I joined as a young single woman wishing to return to martial arts as both a physical activity and to get out of the house and meet new people. But what I have found at FSDC is much more–a family. FSDC is a community of practitioners who know and value karate’s ancient roots and wish to pass it on to the next generation. There is a 50year difference from the youngest black belt to the oldest, but all of them are highly trained in Isshinryu as both students and teachers. For most of my time at FSDC, my teachers have been younger than me by 10 years but there is no question that they know what they are talking about and have been the greatest source of my own karate knowledge. Under the guidance of Masters Z and Chris Szelap the dojo is a fun and family friendly environment where one can achieve their own personal karate goals. You will learn not just the moves of a kata and form but how they transfer to real world skills.

The Dojo is consistently ranked among the top 5 in the nation with many of its students having success at competitions in kata, weapons, and sparring. The students are excited to come to class each week and to learn something new while they perfect the skills they already learned.

Personally, the dojo was a place of refuge for me when my family lost our home to a terrible fire. I found a family of karate ka who I could lean on. My confidence and general happiness has increased greatly since I joined FSDC. When I was younger and involved in martial arts I never thought a Black Belt was possible, but at FSDC I have found that it is both possible and earned through true dedication and development of skills, not just something handed out lightly.

The Family Self Defense Center is a staple in the community with over 100 students. The dojo donates time to the city to participate in events at Christmas, to march in parades in the summer, and to donate to charities from food drives to clothing drives. The students at FSDC learn more than just how to punch and kick, they gain skills that will carry them through life, no matter what path they take. Being a part of the FSDC dojo means you are a part of a family that works every day to help everyone achieve their goals.  

– Rachel Manela, 2018