Wise Warrior Gym (formerly REAL Self Defense Center)

Frequently Asked Questions

We want you to make an informed choice about where you train in Martial Arts. To address your initial questions or concerns, here are the most common questions we have been asked over the past 20 years.


We understand that the first visit to a new gym can be intimidating. From the moment you walk in the door of Wise Warrior Gym, we aim to help you feel comfortable and encouraged every step of your training journey.

I am out of shape… do I have to be fit to join the classes?

No, not at all. Students begin from all levels of fitness, and whatever program or class you choose, everyone progresses at their own pace and level. You will get fit by participating in the training. The important thing is just to start.

I feel awkward and uncoordinated… what if I look goofy and clumsy trying to learn the techniques?

This is a common concern, but we have a saying: "Don't let ego dictate your training." Your skill development and physical coordination will improve quickly with our safe, graduated, progressive training approach which accommodates beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. Our coaches break down the skills sets with detailed instruction so you can be successful and build confidence.

Will I be able to keep up? What if I hold the class back?

Everyone learns at their own pace and level. We generally have more than one coach on the floor during class, as well as intermediate and advanced students who assist, so you won’t get left behind. Do not let insecurities about your skills or abilities keep you from training. Everyone starts somewhere. The real secret is consistency, which means just keep showing up.

I can't stand all the tough guys and gym jerks with ego… what is your gym atmosphere like?

At the entrance to the training area we have a sign that says, “ Like your shoes, please leave your ego at the door." At Wise Warrior Gym you will find no idiots, *#%holes, or jerks. We have a relaxed, inviting student attitude and gym atmosphere. We train to learn, we train for functionality, and we train for fun.

Will I be the only woman in the class?

Although the percentage of women in Martial Arts gyms can be smaller, Wise Warrior Gym does have many female students. We foster an inclusive community spirit that is respectful and welcoming for all. We take great pride in assisting everyone to become empowered, and we strongly encourage women to get involved in the combative arts.

Can I watch a class first?

Yes, you can watch or try out several classes before making your decision. Your next step is to contact us and book a time to come down to the gym for a free gym tour, personal program consultation, and trial class. This is always the best next step because then you can check out the facility, instructors, teaching methodology, student attitude and gym atmosphere.

Is it better to take private lessons or group classes?

Private lessons are excellent for learning at your own pace and customizing training to your goals. However many people assume it is a superior way to learn, which is not necessarily true: Group classes offer important benefits for functionally applying combative skills. Your skill level improves greatly when you work with a variety of people at varying skill levels with different body types/sizes and different ways of moving. Private lessons can be a great starter if you are uncomfortable in groups and want to get accustomed to training first, are working with a handicap or injury, or have schedule constraints. If you are seeking accelerated progression in your training, we would recommend group classes supplemented with private sessions to receive focused, one-on-one, tailor-fit coaching on your areas of improvement.


I am afraid of getting injured…is the training safe?

Safety is always number one. We are aware that injury is a possibility with all sports and physical training, so we build safety in with a SMART attitude and a progressive, graduated and SAFE training approach. Safety is emphasized to student and coach alike, and each member of our coaching team learns our safety-first, progressive training approach through our ongoing in-house coaching program.

I have an old injury or special physical considerations. Can I still train?

It is important that you consult your doctor before beginning a new training program, and let us know about your situation or injury. In our experience, we can successfully accommodate students with old injuries or various physical challenges with modifications to drills and techniques.

Coming To Class

I’m bored of my routine at the gym… will this be any different?

Yes, you can get into incredible shape through the combative arts while learning functional and interesting skills that keep many enthusiasts interested for years and decades. The challenge, refinement, continuous learning, and variety makes for an engaging training experience. Your membership gives you access to our full spectrum of dynamic training in REAL Self Defense, Sport Combat – MMA, and Weapons Combat. You can focus on one program or choose to mix it up so you never get bored.

Which program is right for me?

It depends on your motivations for training. We recommend you talk to us about your goals and book a gym tour so we can help you plot your training journey. During your gym tour, you will receive a training consultation and can watch or participate in a free class before making a decision. All our programs are accessible for all levels, beginner to advanced, and membership gives you full access to all regular classes on the schedule, so you can try everything.

Do I have to compete in tournaments or in the ring or cage?

No, not at all. We do have students who compete in tournaments and fight in MMA events. They are well-prepared and successful in a competitive environment. However, most of our students train because they are martial arts enthusiasts, want to get into great shape, have other training goals, and love being involved with the gym and community.

What size are the classes?

The class size ranges from 8 to 20 people. Whatever the class size, there is a primary lead coach with 1 or 2 extra coaches or advanced students to assist in the teaching. Although the lead primary coach is running the class, our community spirit facilitates an environment where everyone is assisting everyone.

What do I wear? What do I bring?

Wear comfortable training attire. Wear long sleeves or a full T-shirt (no muscle shirts). You can train barefoot, in socks, or in clean indoor gym-approved training shoes/runners. Bring a personal water bottle. Any other program-specific training attire and equipment will be explained. At Wise Warrior Gym, we stress a clean gym facility and personal cleanliness and hygiene.

Other Considerations

I'm a professional in the field of security, corrections, or law enforcement. Are your programs suitable for me?

Yes, absolutely. We have had many professionals in the field get involved in our programs or take private lessons. Functional martial art training is a great enhancement to the security and defensive tactics used by professionals. Civilians and professionals alike will benefit from the functional training and real-world crossover that we specialize in. We also offer Solicitor General approved security training and certification.

I am experiencing a specific threat to my safety. What do I do?

Experiencing stalking, threats, intimidation, or violence are very common reasons for wanting to learn self defense. We receive these calls frequently, and it is vital to empower yourself with realistic personal protection training. First, contact the proper authorities as needed. Then we recommend contacting us about your situation and best next steps. You may wish to start in the Hard Target introduction program, which is short-term training that gives you a variety of immediately accessible skills in awareness, environmental, and physical tactics. For in-depth training that leads to higher skill acquisition, consider our ongoing REAL Self Defense program or custom private lessons.

I have a traumatic past history. I'm concerned about training in self defense or contact sports.

Training in martial arts and self defense can be revolutionary for empowering the individual and giving back a sense of safety and confidence. The feedback we hear most often from those with a traumatic past history is that they feel safe and comfortable in our training environment and start to feel empowered as they go through the training. If you are working with a mental health professional, it is important that you have a discussion with them first. We know the power training can have for strengthening an individual and can help you get started at your pace. As part of a safe training environment, we will pair you with comfortable training partners. Some people prefer to start with private lessons before joining group classes.

You are always welcome to call or email us to discuss your questions, goals, or personal circumstances.

Start your Wise Warrior journey. Call us to schedule a free gym tour and class!