Why should I train at Practical Martial Arts and not another school?
There are many great martial art schools in our community and each has a unique benefit. However, we pride ourselves on teaching students to be well-rounded martial artists by cross-training in stand-up, take-downs, ground work and street self-defense. Additionally, we teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a fantastic grappling style that enables you to defeat opponents on the ground which is where 70% of all altercations end up.
Apart from the physical, our dojo is a community of like-minded individuals and families. Most people remark that the ‘feel’ of the school what sealed the deal in their decision to join. We offer programs and opportunities for our students that are extremely rare for martial arts studios; our Green Team, for example, is a group of students that organize beach clean-ups and activities that promote sustainable living. Students are required to take part in a variety of projects that relate to nutritional self-defense, environmental self-defense, non-violent conflict resolution, acts of kindness, respect and more.
 
How often do students need to train?
For most of our programs two times per week is the minimum commitment necessary to make progress; three times per week at advanced levels.
However, Tiny Tigers and Grasshoppers are designed as once per week classes.
 
Do you have weekend classes?
Yes, but Saturday classes are part of specific programs. We do not have Saturday only classes at this time. Please see the page for the class/age you are interested in.
 
Can a student train whenever they like?
We have many programs to enable a tremendous amount of flexibility, however students must stick to one program or another; Typically Monday/Wednesday/Friday OR Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday for kids. FitClub is open to come to whichever days you like.
During June, July and August, kids can train any days and as many days as they can!
 
When does the next session start?
Our classes are ongoing. You can start at any time. However, keep in mind that martial arts are a discipline, not a sport. You will be expected to train year-round with reasonable breaks for vacations or holidays. Your consistency and dedication is what will see you through to each of your belts and getting your first tap!
 
Our Self Defense courses usually have a start and end date please see the Self Defense page or call/email us.
 
Can I hold my membership? If so, how?
We allow two, one-month Holds per year. Holds must be sent in writing with 30 days notice and will apply upon return to the dojo. For example, if you wish to hold June, you’ll pay for June and that payment will be credited to July.
Contact us to set it up:
practicalmartialarts at yahoo.com
 
Do classes stop in the summer?
No. Our classes run YEAR ROUND regardless of school/university breaks – except for being closed each year between Christmas and New Year’s.
 
How much are the classes?
All our classes are paid monthly through our billing company. New students must enroll in a 3 month (Tiny Tigers, Grasshoppers, FitClub) or 6 month (all others) Introductory Program. At the end of the program the program automatically becomes month to month with 30 days notice to hold or cancel.
Tiny Tigers & Grasshoppers: ages 3 – 5 years, 1x week: $99 per month via EFT from a voided check/$104 via credit card
Little Dragons: ages 4 – 6 yrs 2x week: $199 per month via EFT from voided check/$194 via credit card
Beginner Kids, Teens & Adults: 2 + week: $199 per month via EFT from voided check/$194 via credit card
FitClub: up to 6x week: $159 per month via EFT from voided check/$155 via credit card. We don’t currently have drop ins but we are planning to soon so please inquire!
 
What other fees will I be expected to pay?
Upon enrollment in our dojo, you will pay your first month’s tuition and an enrollment fee of $60 for kids and $100 for adults; this fee includes a new uniform. FitClub, Tiny Tigers & Grasshoppers are $45 and includes gloves or a uniform.
We DO NOT charge belt test fees, nor do we offer upgrade packages. Your belt test is a reward for your hard work and we do not feel it is something you should pay for. Additionally, ALL of our students are offered the SAME opportunities for learning, we do not have exclusive (and more costly) Black Belt Club upgrades. Every student that enrolls is given the same high quality instruction and is held to the highest standards.
 
Can I do drop-ins?
For our martial arts classes, the answer is no. Learning any martial arts requires commitment and consistency.
However, FitClub classes will soon have a drop in option.
 
Do you have Camps for kids?
We have five to six amazing camps each summer that run from 9am-2pm, 11am-2pm for Lil Ninjas. Students earn 2 class credits per day for their training (1 for Lil Ninjas). We serve healthy snacks each day, students bring their own reduced waste lunch daily except for Friday when we serve Round Table pizza!
We also do a Veteran’s Day Camp, Winter Camp, a Spring Break Camp, and a Ski Week Camp. Please call or visit the Camps page to check dates & availability.
 
How many students are in each class?
On our main mat, the average class size for kids is 18 to 22, Little Dragons 8 to 12; each with two Black Belt Instructors per class. On our second mat the classes are smaller at about 5 – 10 students.
Adults average 16 – 12 students per class.
 
What style do you teach?
We teach Freestyle Mixed Martial Arts, which is a blended system with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai, and wrestling. Many people refer to it as MMA but we are not MMA like you see online. We are not a fighter’s gym though we teach the same skills.
 
Do you have classes just for women?
Our classes are mixed with about 30% of our student being women. We do have specialty events that are just for women or girls like our Girls’ Night or Girls Leaving For College Self Defense Seminars that happen yearly. In Summer of 2017 we’ll be starting ongoing self defense classes for women and hopefully soon an entire martial arts Black Belt program just for women! See our Self Defense page.
 
Do I (or does my child) need a uniform and where can I get one?
Each student needs a Freestyle Gi (uniform) similar to a Judo/Jiu-Jitsu Gi. A uniform is included in your enrollment fee. FitClub & Teen conditioning classes require board shorts & rash guard which can be purchased online. In Fall of 2017 we expect to have PMA logo rash guards in stock!
 
What is controlled contact sparring?
Controlled contact sparring is the most realistic safe way to train skills. In these drills you employ controlled punches, kicks and grappling techniques on a partner, who is attempting to land the same techniques on you. Controlled striking targets include body, leg and head. We believe the ability to employ a technique without hurting your partner is the cornerstone of developing true martial art skills. Additionally, we feel very protective of our students’ brain cells! We have perfected realistic training without causing injury.
 
Is controlled contact sparring the same as full contact sparring, or boxing?
Absolutely not. In full contact or boxing you don’t hold back. Each blow uses full power on your opponent. In controlled contact you use the same technique as boxing or kickboxing but you limit your power to insure safety.
 
Why not eliminate contact all together?
This would be like trying to learn to swim without getting in the water.
 
I am not really interested in grappling/Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Can I still participate?
Yes, if you do our FitClub Program but not in our martial arts style. There are many great schools in Marin that do not focus on grappling and you may be more comfortable there. Our students are required to train in both Freestyle and Jiu-jitsu. However, we are looking at a Self Defense based Black Belt program in the future that would focus on grappling skills for self defense not for BJJ rank.
 
How long does it take to get a Black Belt?
That depends on your long-term dedication and athletic potential. Our phenomenal Black Belts did it in 4 years of intense (5 days per week) training + a natural gift + previous experience. On average it takes 5 to 6 years but can take up to 8 years. Time spent training is measured with actual skills but never prioritized over technique. Our Black Belts are measured against our overall standard, not on ‘personal best’.
 
What is the youngest age one can get a Black Belt?
The earliest age to earn a Youth Black Belt is 12 years old after the minimum required length of training and accomplishment of real skills and technique. These Youth Black Belts can earn a second degree youth rank and then test for their adult Black Belt at age 16. We pride ourselves on having high standards for Black Belt.
 
What is the chief obstruction to achieving a Black Belt?
More often than not it is time and not athletic talent that determines a person’s success. If you have dedication, amazing transformations can be accomplished.
Am I too old?
More important than age is asking yourself; Do you have limiting injuries? Do you have pre-existing knee, back or shoulder injuries? Remember, that our system stresses grappling and kick-boxing. There is a good amount of contact inherent in this type of training even when it is done in a safe, controlled environment.
We have had several people achieve their Black Belt after they were fifty. One turned sixty right before his test. Ms Patti just earned her 4th dan at age 65! 
Is this Karate? Is this Tae Kwon Do?
No. We teach Freestyle Martial Arts – a combination of kickboxing and grappling. We use the word “karate” for our kids program as a generic term for martial arts.
 
Is this the style I see in the Ultimate Fighting Championship?
Yes, but this a martial art academy or Dojo, not a fighters gym. However, the techniques you see are the exact same; same Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, same Muay Thai, same Wrestling, same Boxing. The only difference is how things are taught and what we believe martial arts are all about. We believe martial arts are a vehicle for self-improvement and learning about one’s self. A fighters gym primary focus tends to be about making the individual better at fighting. Our Dojo takes these same ultra effective drills and skills and makes them safe, so everyone can grow and benefit.