I actually find it kind of hard to put into words how much I appreciate this place. So this may be long winded. I was looking for something cardio related to add to my workout routine. I like weight lifting, but cardio in a gym bores me. I used groupon to jump through a few different martial art schools, taking trials in kickboxing, cardio kickboxing, BJJ, Aikido, Karate, etc. Some schools were ok, some were not my speed. KSA had a very relaxed, but welcoming feel to it. Not just accepting, like “yeah ok you’re here”. But welcoming. I considered myself very flat footed and ill coordinated when I started. And still very out of shape for cardio endurance. But the teachers, and the other students didn’t seem to mind. There was no shame in taking a breather or a quick water break. They were all friendly and helpful in instructing me on the basics, and letting me get a feel for the classes. More advance students were just as willing to help as the instructors. Unlike some of the schools I visited, formalities were not very strict here, so it was ok to laugh. Which is helpful; when you’re clumsy, laughing at yourself is often necessary. I came away from each class feeling that I had learned something, and noticed improvement with each visit. I’d made up my mind that this was the place well before I finished the trial.

Big note: This was the only contact sport location where I did not get treated differently for being a girl. In some schools, the more competitive ones, I had guys refuse to spar with me because I was female. In others I had a feeling of being patronized by male students. Here, I am judged by the effort I put in and my expressed comfort level with the moves we’re practicing.

Second big note: They have no fall class options. So if you’re leery of getting thrown around, you can opt out. Especially handy if you have pre-existing injuries or mobility issues. You’ll still get a great lesson out of it.

The instructors here are patient, but they will push you to improve. They are easy to talk to and receptive to your thoughts and concerns. They are observant of their students, and will notice and attempt to address any discomfort or confusion you have. They make an effort to get to know their students. I have yet to run into anyone with an overbearing ego or a lack of respect for fellow students. There is some friendly competition between some people, but they still are always working together to improve. I would strongly recommend this place to anyone who is new to martial arts as they make the beginning so easy and stress free. I would recommend it to people who have had previous lessons, as the instructors are trained in many different martial arts, have years of experience to draw from and then focus on taking what you know and adding on to it or finding new ways to use it. Really, I’d recommend it to just about everyone. So that’s what I’m doing now:

If you’re looking for a place to learn Aikido, Kali, TKD, JKD, and a few others, I recommend you stop in to KSA and take a class or two.