MJ Cabigting-Steele builds confidence and community with free self-defense classes

MJ Cabigting-Steele builds confidence and community with free self-defense classes

By Stacy Nguyenjournalist, designer and community member

A former New Yorker, Filipino visual and martial artist MJ Cabigting-Steele moved to Seattle a few years ago and found a sense of community here.

MJ works at the Wing Luke Museum as well as the Seattle Kung Fu Club, where he also trains. What he loves about Seattle is how the martial arts are so embedded in the complex history of the community. It’s a practice that arose out of necessity due to the pervasive racial segregation in Seattle, a practice that not only provided self-protection for the community associations of the International District (because who else could these people depend on ?), but also served to strengthen cultural ties.

However, this sense of community has been challenged during COVID.

Members of the API community have faced increased violence during the pandemic. Anti-Asian hate crimes jumped by 339% in 2021. Behind New York and California, Washington State experienced the third highest number of incidentsmainly in the form of harassment, during this period.

MJ saw the news and what was happening across the country. He also saw what was happening in his own neighborhood and knew he had to do something. He knew he had to use one of his talents to help his neighbors stay safe.

After training in many forms of martial arts for most of his life and teaching for almost as long, he has decided to start hosting free self-defense classes for the public in the summer of 2021.

In GM classes, everyone is welcome. It doesn’t matter their age, skill level, or if there are two or two dozen people in his class – MJ will be there to encourage, guide, help build confidence, and teach people how to feel and be more empowered. safety when out and about.

How to give love to MJ

Attend his classes!

Currently, GM classes are held indoors at Yoga Mom every Sunday at 6:15 p.m. (unless MJ is on vacation, but he will let you know if he is away!). The schedule may change, so be sure to join his Facebook group keep up to date.

Learn more about MJ’s art and shop some of his works!

Besides being a terrific artist and martial arts teacher, MJ is also an extremely talented writer, artist, and scholar. Discover his work on his website, wasabi punkto buy his booksor take some merchandise.

Join his Patreon and follow him on social media

For a glimpse of what MJ is currently working on, become one of his patrons on Patreon. You can also see what it does via her instagram or on his vigilante group Facebook.


This blog is part of our Support Your Neighbors in CID series, which spotlights amazing people in Chinatown’s international district, nominated by their neighbors for their cool and impactful work around community safety.

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