Finding the right martial arts class fit is easy on Mercer Island

Students at Mercer Island Martial Arts participate in a variety of classes and programs, specifically an anti-bullying campaign. - Contributed photo
Students at Mercer Island Martial Arts participate in a variety of classes and programs, specifically an anti-bullying campaign.
— image credit: Contributed photo

There are a wide variety of martial arts and here on Mercer Island, there are a variety of places to go to practice whichever variety suits you.

At Mercer Island Martial Arts, located at 2630 77th Ave SE, Suite 106-108 in the 77 Central Building, the focus is on helping kids be active and learn while they have fun.

MeLisa Strongheart, a master instructor and co-owner, said they will be offering summer day camps until school starts, as well as a family program for kids and adults.

“The parents and kids get to be together for the beginning, then they split up and come back together for yoga at the end,” said Strongheart. “It’s been really fun and the families are having a blast.”

The studio has been open on Mercer Island since 1997, but recently moved to their new location in the 77 Central Building.

A big focus for MI Martial Arts has been a campaign against bullying. Strongheart said after the various suicides related to bullying they wanted to do something to educate kids about how to prevent it and then what to do if they are bullied.

“It’s been a real mission for us,” she said. “We do workshops and training with kids for free as part of our commitment to the community, and in the hopes of decreasing the problem of bullying, and the long term negative effects there of. We started this after these terrible instances of suicide. We want to reach as many kids as possible with the skills to deal better with this.”

In part because of that work and for their role in the community Mercer Island Martial Arts was named as a Hometown Hero this summer by the City of Mercer Island. The organization was honored during the Summer Celebration parade in July.

Mercer Island Martial Arts also offers an after school program for kids, but Strongheart said they fill up quickly.

More information on class times and dates can be found at

Karate West, located at 8451 SE 68th Street on Mercer Island, offers classes and programs for all ages. The school, which also has a Sammamish location, is gearing up for the fall with a variety of programs.

Beginning next week on Aug. 22 the school’s Buddy Week begins. Students can bring a friend for a free week of class, open to anyone in the community.

Starting in September beginner classes begin, open to new students ages three through adult for white belt classes.

On Sept. 18 Karate West’s annual Academic All Star program starts. Each year students sign up for the 60-day challenge which helps inspire them to work hard and achieve success at home, in the classroom and in the studio.

“Basically it’s an agreement to work hard for 60 days. It’s a whole lifestyle type of thing,” said Natalie Brown, the Karate West office manager.

On Sept. 24 the studio will take part in Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Day of Play. The event, held at Mercerdale Park will feature games and events.

Outside of special events and program, classes at the school are offered throughout the week, broken into age groups.

The tiny tigers group is for ages 3 through 5, while kids five and six are in the young achievers program and youth is anyone ages 7 to 11. Teens and adults are in the same class on Mondays and Wednesdays.

To learn more call 232-4477 or visit

Learn more about Z Ultimate Self Defense Studios, located at 7858 SE 28th Street Ste 105 and online at


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