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San Diego's Filipino Martial Arts School

Welcome to our San Diego Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) school, offering Arnis / Escrima / Kali training for self-defense. One of the world’s most lethal Martial Arts, our FMA classes provide the perfect way to learn real world self-defense, offering edged and blunt weapons, empty hand and Military / LEO applications.

In fact, Filipino Martial Arts are widely respected and chosen as a primary art by militaries worldwide due to its ability to deal with bladed threats, as well as self-defense uses of knives or blunt weapons. These applications are the primary reason we offer FMA training in San Diego, particularly as a large percentage of our students are comprised of active duty military.

As the name states, Filipino Martial Arts are arts, not sports, although FMA offers many techniques and fundamental concepts that may benefit Combat Sports. But at its root, it is a self-defense system.  As such, we concentrate on self-defense training when teaching Kali (Arnis and Esrima mean roughly the same thing in FMA) at our San Diego school.

All levels are welcome, and all will learn valuable skills. Beginners will benefit from the fundamental drills that serve as the core of our FMA classes, while everyone will obtain a better understanding of balance, movement and real world self-defense. Knowledge of self-defense is critical in today’s world and could easily mean the difference between life and death.

As students advance, they will move to more specific training and will see a different aspect of FMA than taught at other San Diego Filipino Martial Arts schools. The goal of these classes will be constant testing of practical application, with techniques taught in the most effective way possible as applied to actual self-defense.

Our goal is to teach real world techniques that can be used to keep our students safe, whether in the streets or in the field. Our entire purpose of our San Diego FMA training program is to enable people of different ages, abilities and experience to become safer in this world.

Willie Laureano is the head instructor of our Filipino Martial Arts program. Originally from the Philippines, Guro (Filipino for Teacher) Willie has a vast amount of experience in FMA, first starting his training in 1980 with the world famous Dan Inosanto. Today, Guro Willie is regarded as one of the top FMA instructors on the planet, particularly for Special Operations training.

Charles Martinez is our day to day FMA instructor and has a large amount of experience in FMA. Guro Charles has been training with Willie Laureano since 2003 and like Guro Willie, has significant expertise in teaching FMA to Special Operations Forces.

Looking for the best private FMA lessons in San Diego? We have you covered. Instead of paying the outrageous fees other gyms charge for private FMA training, we do things differently. Most gyms markup their private FMA lessons up to 500%. This means they can pay their trainers $25 per hour and charge $125 per hour. This is unfair to the trainer and the client. In contrast, we don’t markup our private FMA training here at all. Instead, once you become a member of our gym, you pay our trainers directly and we stay out of the transaction. We get your membership dues, the trainers keep what they earn, and you get huge savings. It’s a win-win-win for everyone (except the other gyms with their inflated private FMA training prices). So if you want San Diego’s best private FMA lessons at the best prices, we’re your gym.

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FMA Classes | Henry T.

“I’ve been training in Filipino Martial Arts in San Diego the last 12 years seriously. The FMA program we started has a lot of people interested in it. It gives you a reality of self-defense, teaches you angles, entry, exit, as well as takes your existing skills and combines them. Teaches you how to get in and out. It’s probably the best self-defense out there. It’s pressure tested and it’s very effective. The instructors that lead the class are top notch world renowned instructors. They’ve got students from all aspects of martial arts, law enforcement and military.”

FMA Training | Charles M.

“I’ve been training Filipino Martial Arts under Willie Laureano since 2003. It’s definitely helped shape my thought process behind all the martial arts. It’s a really well-rounded martial art. A lot of real world application, plus the drills that build attributes. It can benefit other Martial Arts and Guro Willie is just one of the best guys to do it with. An amazing teacher. He’s been teaching a long time, been training a long time and really still looks for the best training. He’s actively trying to make things better.”

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Filipino Martial Arts FAQ's

Looking for the best Filipino Martial Arts training program gym near you? The Arena is the largest martial arts facility in San Diego, with over 27,000 sq feet of training space and weekly FMA classes. The Arena has an outstanding FMA program with some of the best coaches anywhere in Southern California.

Filipino Martial Arts refers to fighting methods devised in the Philippines. It incorporates elements from both Western and Eastern Martial Arts, the most popular forms of which are known as Arnis, Eskrima, and Kali. Filipino martial artists are noted for their ability to fight with weapons or empty hands interchangeably and their ability to turn ordinary household items into lethal weapons. Weapons training takes precedence as they give an edge in real fights. This also gears students to psychologically face armed opponents, and use various objects as weapons using FMA techniques. Empty hand training techniques are translated from the use of the Daga (dagger) or Baston (stick).

FMA teaches weapon use that is practical today. Using and dealing with weapons that one can actually encounter in the streets and turning ordinary items into improvised weapons are integral parts of training FMA. Knives, machetes, clubs and clothing, (called Sarongs), are still among commonly encountered weapons on the street and in the field, thus making FMA very practical and geared towards military and street fighting.

You will need Kali sticks at a minimum in order to practice Filipino Martial Arts at The Arena. Members should also consider purchasing a rubber dummy knife and should come in clothes they are comfortable moving around in.

FMA is absolutely a good martial art for beginners. It teaches outstanding hand to hand combat skills using a variety of different weapons and objects. Our FMA class on Saturdays is a great place to start for those with minimal experience in martial arts.

We offer various membership options to fit your specific needs. Our most popular unlimited training membership is under $100 monthly.

The Arena offers a Filipino Martial Arts class on Saturdays at 9:00am. In order to improve, members should attend class weekly.

If you’re looking for Filipino Martial Arts “near me”, we have you covered. Members come from all over San Diego to train at The Arena. Our Filipino Martial Arts gym is easily accessible in Point Loma off the 8 freeway on Midway Blvd. Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Bay Park, Downtown San Diego, Golden Hill, Bankers Hill, Hillcrest, North Park, South Park, La Mesa, El Cajon, Clairemont, College Area, Miramar, Kearny Mesa, Clairemont Mesa, City Heights, La Jolla, Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Coronado, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach.