Mark Mikita has been teaching professionally since 1978. A lifelong practitioner, he has earned an international reputation as a consummate martial artist and a patient and inspiring teacher. Mark’s unique approach offers a real paradigm-shift from defensive to more effective counter-offensive thinking and training.
Delving deeper, Mark holds that to truly master any practicable martial art, the student must grasp the unstable dynamics of a combative relationship, for that is where the real art lives — in the often frightening, real-time relationship of exigency to strategy; of strategy to tactics; of tactics to weapon choice and, finally, of weapon to target — and both his school and his personal art reflect this insightful perspective.
Strongly encouraging his students to regularly venture out of their comfort zones to continually test and develop their ability to function under stress, Mark teaches effective, battle-proven strategies for successfully managing every aspect of a violent encounter.
His small, mixed-level group classes are informal and extremely detail-oriented, and he teaches every one of them himself.
As to what goes on in a typical class, partnered practice is the norm, with various armed and unarmed drills, sparring and self-defense scenarios taking up approximately 80-90% of class time. Mark uses the remaining time to expound on the core principles of whatever technique or tactic is being covered, often delving into applied sciences or looking back, sometimes over centuries, to investigate the environmental, cultural and historical factors that initially led to its development, thus imparting not only the ingenious methodologies the originators came up with to solve the problems they faced but also, and perhaps more importantly, the process they employed. Armed with such knowledge, Mark’s students are charged with the responsibility of keeping it sharp… and keeping it sheathed in all but the most exigent circumstances.
Finally, there’s one thing you definitely won’t find at Mark’s school and that’s politics…
In his book, Zen In The Martial Arts, Mark’s longtime student, Joe Hyams, wrote that a martial arts school is “a microcosm of life.” Hence, despite its well-packaged claims to the contrary, the so-called martial arts community has its fair share of cowards masquerading as men of honor, and the factional scheming and often slanderous backbiting they are invariably responsible for has wrecked more great schools and martial arts friendships than anything else.
In the words of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden,“While you, the leader, can teach many things, character is not taught easily to adults who arrive at your desk lacking it. Be cautious about taking on reclamation projects regardless of the talent they possess. Have the courage to make character count among the qualities you seek in others.” Mark has that courage.
Accordingly, anyone looking to join his school – be they a complete novice or high-ranking black belt – is expected to arrive at his proverbial desk with an accurate moral compass and the fortitude to follow it.