Check back soon for the first of many eBooks by Mark Mikita!
In teaching instructors, Mark often says that “one of the first responsibilities is to disillusion the student… to erase his illusions.”
This page is intended to do just that.
To our absolute astonishment, the terrifying effectiveness of knives is frequently underestimated if not totally dismissed by otherwise intelligent people. Moreover, the ignorant assumption is that firearms are infinitely superior, hence the dictum: only a fool brings a knife to a gunfight. Makes perfect sense, right? You be the judge…
- According to FBI statistics, most shooting situations happen within 7 to 12 feet, well within the effective range of a knife.
- Law enforcement officers should (but very often don’t) know that any knife with a point can readily penetrate a bullet-resistant vest that doesn’t have armor plate inserts.
- Knives don’t run out of ammunition.
- Knives are not prone to malfunction.
- Firearms, and ammunition for that matter, are expensive.
- Firearms require a significant amount of training to be used effectively under stress, whereas any idiot with bad intentions can pick up a $2 steak knife and do serious damage with no training at all.
The Mikita School of Martial Art / Fightology offers several levels of membership. Please contact us to discuss your training goals and we can work with you to come up with a plan that fits your goals, schedule and budget.
Classes are set by the following schedule (subject to change):
Monday 7:30 pm – 8:30pm / 8:30 – 9:30 pm
Wednesday 7:30 pm – 8:30pm / 8:30 – 9:30 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 11:30 am / 11:30am – 1:00 pm
Private Lessons – By Appointment Only
It is recommended that you make an appointment to visit the school for the first time so we can meet with you prior to class beginning, as all of Mark’s attention will be focused on students once class begins.
If you have any questions you can contact Mark by filling in the form below:
• Filipino Martial Arts
• Jun Fan Martial Arts (Methods compiled by Bruce Lee)
• Hung Gar Kung Fu/Wing Chun/Hsing-i Pakua/Tai Chi Chuan
• Japanese Jiu Jitsu/Judo/Aikido/Aiki-Jujitsu/Kenjitsu
• Tae Kwon Do/Tang Soo Do/Hapkido/Kuk Sool Won
• Indonesian Pentjak Silat
• Malaysian Bersilat
• Muay Thai/Krabi Krabong
• French Savate
• Western Boxing
• Submission Hold Grappling
• Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
• European Fencing
Mark offers Beginner to Advanced-Level Self-Defense Training
through Group Classes as well as Exclusive Private Instruction.
His comprehensive curriculum incorporates:
• Mixed Martial Arts
• Specialized & Improvised Impact & Bladed Weaponcraft
• Special-Use Weapons & Stratagems
• Stress Inoculation Training
• Situational & Environmental Awareness Training
- Joe Hyams
- “Mark has put together a system that’s incredible and he is probably the best martial artist I have ever seen; certainly the best I’ve ever studied with.”–Joe HyamsAuthor, "Zen In The Martial Arts"
- Crispulo "Ising" Atillo
- “My best student is here in the USA. He is Mark Mikita. All my secrets, I taught him, and I have already awarded him as Master and Grandmaster. He's the best!”–Grandmaster Crispulo "Ising" Atillo
- Dan Inosanto
- “I’ve known Mark Mikita for 20 years and he really is an extraordinary martial artist.”–Dan InosantoTraining Partner of Bruce Lee
- Sam Sheridan
- “Mark Mikita is the real deal. He understands, into his bones, what he is teaching.”–Sam SheridanAuthor of "A Fighter's Heart" and "The Fighter's Mind"
- Burton Richardson
- “If you have the chance to train with Mark Mikita, do it. Touch hands with him and you will be inspired, as was I, to be your best.”–Burton RichardsonJeet Kune Do Unlimited
- Laurent Delsol
- “The Mikita School of Martial Art is a truly great place to train and grow as a martial artist. Mark Mikita has my utmost respect and devotion.”–Laurent Delsol
- Free Carradine
- “I set out to find a masterful teacher who fully embodied the warrior-sage ideal... who would've ever thought I would find one, in LA no less? His name is Mark Mikita... and now you have found him too.”–Free Carradine
- Den Bradshaw
- “Whether you are new to Martial Arts, or are already a veteran instructor, if you want to get your fighting skills to the next level, and work with the very best, Mark Mikita is your man.”–Den Bradshaw
- Ian Armstrong
- “Mark is a lexicon of martial arts knowledge with an understanding of history, anatomy, biomechanics and human nature that truly sets him apart. He is a thinking man’s martial arts teacher...”–Ian Armstrong MDNeurosurgeon
- James Bamford
- “In my opinion, Mark Mikita is the foremost instructor of non-sport, practical, effective Martial Arts in North America today.”–James "Bam-Bam" BamfordPresident, Stunts Canada
- Ritchie Yip
- “In the world of Martial Arts, I’ve never met anyone who rivals Mark Mikita's talent, skill and ability to teach.”–Ritchie YipFounder of InFighting
- Loki Jorgenson
- “As far as I'm concerned, Mark is one of the legends of modern Filipino martial arts.”–Loki JorgensonDog Brother & Maelstrom Martial Arts Instructor
- Damon Wayans Jr.
- “Mark Mikita is the Best Martial Arts Teacher EVER!”–Damon Wayans Jr.Actor & Comedian
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 principlesof 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 solvethe 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.
“My best student is here in the USA. He is Mark Mikita. I taught him already the deadly style of Philippine martial arts stick fighting. All my secrets, I taught him, and I have already awarded him as Master and Grandmaster. He’s the best!” [sic]
Crispulo “Ising” Atillo
Grandmaster of the Atillo Balintawak Eskrima System
Renowned Stick Fighter
Fought and won the last legally sanctioned death match in the Philippines, 1983
“Some people become outstanding martial artists because they were born with a talent for the fighting arts. Some people excel because they have a passion for the arts, while others make great achievements through a tireless work ethic.
It is exceedingly rare to find a person who embodies all three of these traits, as does my martial arts brother, Mark Mikita.
Mark’s physical and intellectual talent alone would’ve taken him to the top, but his extraordinary skill and understanding come from that rare mix of talent, passion and massive amounts of training. If you have the chance to train with him, do it.
He has a brilliant mind, a critical eye and an honest tongue, not to mention an amazing breadth of knowledge, and the prowess to go with it.
Touch hands with him and you will be inspired, as was I, to be your best.”
Mark Mikita is the real deal. I’ve spent the last ten years interviewing and training with World Champion boxers and UFC fighters, so believe me when I tell you that Mark is the real deal; he understands, into his bones, what he is teaching.
Through a lifetime of intelligent, driven, directed study, Mark mastered his subject. Mastery not just in the physical sense, but also in terms of essence, understanding, truth.
Training under Mark reminds me of reading Bobby Fischer’s chess games, there is elegance and economy, but most of all, I am reminded continuously of the essentials – the bloody heart – of what we are about as fighters and students of self-defense.
Author of A Fighter’s Heart, The Fighter’s Mind and The Disaster Diaries (Mark is featured heavily in The Disaster Diaries)
“Mark Mikita is the most outstanding student I have ever taught. His incessant and surprisingly insightful questions have forced me to delve deeper than ever before into my understanding of the techniques and tactics of fencing. He is a remarkable teacher and his school is for intelligent people.”
Fencing Master Ed Richards
1964 Olympian / 2-Time National Champion / World Masters Champion
“I started as a student with Mark Mikita in ’86. I’d already had Golden Gloves boxing, full-contact Kung Fu and Aikido down well enough that, at that time, I was a bodyguard in Hollywood for several film stars (including Steven Seagal). Coming from Chicago, the psychological aspect was deeply ingrained early on… Mark carved it deeper. The mental is way more important than the rest and Mark taught me how to test myself in reality to gauge my progress. Knife fighting, improvised field-expedient weapons, sentry neutralization, close-quarter termination – Mark fine-tuned my personal style (dealing death in the dark using senses most folks don’t even know they have) with his multi-dimensional approach to training one on one.
In ’92, I moved into his school for a six-week intensive, some days training 8-10 hours straight, to prepare myself for the following next ten years of deep cover work in Latin America. Thanks to Mark’s uncensored, mission-specialized training, I survived two lethal knife contests while there… the other fellows didn’t.
I started out as a Nam Marine grunt, then went Force Recon as a team leader in the badlands of Khe Son, Con Tien, the DMZ and the A Shua Valley. Later, I joined Army Special Forces Airborne, then contracted out to some Italian and Chinese groups finally landing in Hollywood. Next was twelve years south of the border… no Miranda Rights read to the bad boys.
I’ve just returned from two contracts in Iraq, the last one in the Battle of Fallujah.
What’s my point? If you ever dream of being as serious as me… Mark is the man to train you. I bet my life on him and I have now for 20+ years!”
Highly Decorated Vietnam Combat Veteran
Founder & CEO of Recon Security Consultants
Respectfully ignoring the once-sacred boundaries of traditional styles, Mark was actively blending the most effective arts together 20 years before the term and idea of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) came into vogue. Even so, he quickly embraced the new term as being — at long last — a plain-English way to refer to the hybrid system he has been teaching all along. There is a crucial difference, however, between the revolutionary new sport — of which Mark is a fan — and his street-oriented brand of MMA…
After all, no matter how brutal it gets, absent the presence of weapons and the element of surprise, not to mention the decidedly unsportsmanlike use of finger locks, fishhooks and teeth, sport fighting is really just very hard “sparring.” Now, that is certainly not to say that a seasoned MMA competitor would be incapable of defending his life or the life of another in a real-world situation. But training to compete in an athletic contest — with rules, referees and EMTs in place to protect you — is clearly different from training to put down an undoubtedly armed psychopath hellbent on mayhem, murder or martyrdom.
Mark’s unapologetically vicious approach puts eye gouges, throat strikes, groin kicks and head butts high on the students’ to-do list. In other words, he emphasizes the problem-solving utility of battle-proven martial arts over the often-touted philosophical meanderings of neutered martial “ways” that have either lost or deliberately filed off their combative edge. His school’s constantly evolving curriculum encompasses about 80% stand-up and 20% ground-fighting technology, with the use of weapons included across the board.
Uninterested in subscribing to any one system and having no tolerance for politics, his school is beyond the reach of narcissistic hierarchies and the self-serving associations, organizations and federations that spring up around them. Thus, while remaining deeply respectful of the storied history and culture of the Philippines, he is immune to the petty rivalries that plague the continued evolution of their legendary indigenous fighting arts.
Known for his explosiveness and precision, Mark teaches FMA with a razor-sharp focus on real-world functionality.
Regularly cross-referencing the combat and duel-tested time and distance-control methods of European Fencing, which had a profound influence on the Filipino Martial Arts, he trains his students to wade into battle like Eskrimadors, armed to the teeth and secure in the proven effectiveness of their arts.
Eskrima / Kali / Arnis – Used as umbrella terms to describe a vast array of weapon-based fighting arts from the Philippines, these terms have become almost generic in recent years, often taking turns being more popular. Depending on the region, bladed weapons are more or less emphasized, with stick fighting being the most common denominator.
There are many weapon categories, including single stick (single sword, single ax, etc.), double stick, stick and shield, stick and knife, single knife, double knife, long staff, pocket stick, flexible weapons (flail, chain whip, bullwhip, etc.) and improvised weapons.
In addition to the advanced weaponry for which it is best known, FMA also includes lesser-known unarmed sub-arts designed to function independently, as well as in support of the weapon.
Pangamut and Panatukan encompass the empty hand or boxing phase. However, while the use of the fist is definitely represented, use of the open hand, forearm and elbow are given equal if not greater emphasis, along with the shoulder and forehead.
Pananjakman and Sikaran are essentially kickboxing methods. The focus here is on unadulterated stopping power, using the feet, shins and knees.
Dumog is grappling, both in stand-up fighting and ground fighting, with and without weapons.
Kinomutay is often referred to as the pinching and tearing art of FMA, with the emphasis here on targeting the inherent vulnerabilities of the human anatomy. Nerve attacks and vital points are exploited to the fullest, using fingers, bony points and teeth… but inflicting excruciating pain is only part of the menu; tearing off lips, ears and eyelids is the main course.*
*While such unmitigated savagery may seem absolutely unthinkable when considered in a vacuum, keep in mind that these methods were originally developed for jungle warfare, where no holds barred really meant NO HOLDS BARRED.
At the Mikita School, Knife / Counter-Knife Training is approached in 3 phases.
Phase 1: Knife vs. Knife
While the likelihood of getting into a duel with knives is slim, the rules of such an engagement are simple:
If you are more skilled than your opponent – he’s dead.
If your opponent is more skilled than you – you’re dead.
If you’re both equally skilled – you’re both dead.
In training, our emphasis is less on dueling and more on mastering the high-speed perception and motor skills necessary to disable a skilled opponent quickly.
Phase 2: Knife vs. Empty Hands
(In other words, how to use a knife against an unarmed opponent)
This phase of training is often initially seen as being, at the very least, socially unacceptable, if not immoral. But when you stop to consider the reality of a 120lb woman fighting for her life against a 230lb rapist/murderer, a knife suddenly seems like a damn good thing for her to have.
You’re also justified in opting for a weapon such as a knife when confronted by more than one assailant – whether they’re armed or not.
Phase 3: Empty Hands vs. Knife
Finally, having developed a strong sense of the weapon, Phase 3
is all about defending against the knife when you are unarmed. Elaborate disarms are out and while kicking the knife out of the opponent’s hand is remotely possible, any attempt to do so could also get you killed.
Running is always, by far, the best idea.
However, if you can’t run, the name of the game is evading and smothering the blade until you can seize control of the weapon hand… Even if it’s just long enough to land a few solid hits, push him in front of a bus, or drag him to the ground and choke him out.
As a perfect case in point, the UFC (and the Gracie family in particular) ushered in a new respect and appreciation for taking a realistic and comprehensive approach to training – including at least some measure of functional ground fighting.
Thus, it seems incongruous that most martial artists still don’t explore and train with firearms. In this school, we take a very serious look at the combative use of handguns, rifles, shotguns and sub-machine guns. We also have an arsenal of inert firearms we use to train disarms, and yes, you can disarm someone who is armed with a firearm.
The way we look at it, if it comes down to a choice between just standing there and dying or trying to survive, we’ll take the latter.
Over the last decade, he has continued his ground fighting training with Submission Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is a brilliantly reverse-engineered expansion of Kodokan Judo (which was, itself, developed from many different styles of Jiu Jitsu).
Emphasizing high-percentage submissions to augment his aggressive ground-and-pound approach, Mark often keeps the mats folded and has his students train on the hard floor to keep reality clearly in mind.
Mark is known for saying “if you want to be a good student, be a good partner.” He teaches that taking a mindful and deliberate approach to safety allows the practitioner to later remove that safety net when using the technique to defend his life.
Mark believes that it’s important to view the many Japanese arts that were subordinant to the sword in the context of how they functioned in supporting its use on the battlefield. Of particular interest today, of course, is the art of Jiu Jitsu, but Kenjutsu’s contribution to the training of a warrior goes far beyond the grappling mat. Its emphasis on asymetrical weapons training is an integral part of Mark’s approach and he often compares its elegant and powerful fencing principles to those of European Fencing and FMA.
Mark’s training in the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu and Itto Shoden Muto-ryu definitely enhance his curriculum and, as an additional point of interest, he often talks about the many ethical parallels that the Samurai shared with European Knights.