Readers' Choice: Mercer Island Martial Arts Tops in Poll

Mercer Island Martial Arts had the most votes in our Readers' Choice poll, but runner-up Karate West also had fans and dozens of supportive comments and reviews.

Congratulations to Mercer Island Martial Arts, winner of our for favorite Martial Arts School!

, which got just under half of the poll's 6,6,76 votes, practices a mix of traditional and modern martial arts, and is a proudly-local institution in the Town Center. Black-belt master instructors MeLisa Turcott Strongheart and Krista Wells also hold degrees in psychology, enabling them to incorporate positive psychology and recreation therapy into instruction. The school also offers a variety of classes for preschool-age children to adult, , , special needs and anger management.

To learn more about MI Martial Arts, check out its .

Here's two examples of the glowing reviews left by several parents and students on our original poll story and on the Patch Places directory listing:

Free anti-bullying classes, food drives and fundraising for local shelters, homework challenges and rewards in September, teaching special needs kids and adults with specialized classes, encouraging families to take martial arts classes together...just a few extra ways that MIMA gives back to our community. We are proud to support and attend a small, owner-operated school which raises the bar for community involvement and improvement. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!


I have been a student at Mercer Island Martial Arts before I entered the second grade. I am now sophomore in college, and I have loved every year spent with MIMA. MeLisa Strongheart and Krista Wells have been two of the biggest inspirational figures in my life, as they have worked tirelessly with students before and after me to ensure our maturation into respectable figures in society. In addition to the rigorous-but scaled classes, MIMA has set the standard for promoting ideals ranging from respect to peers and instructors to their highly successful anti-bullying campaign. I believe that it is this kind of community involvement, and dedication to students that sets MIMA above its competition. I wouldn't train anywhere else.

Mercer Island also has several other excellent Martial Arts schools. Here's what several commenters had to say about them:


Karate West is the best Martial Arts school on Mercer Island because of the instructors. Sensei Andrew and Senpai Fred obviously care about their students. They model respect while teaching lessons in an atmosphere of goal setting and friendship. My daughter loves it. I wish I had signed her up earlier!

Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios:

All of the schools offer something special to their students, and I would encourage anyone interested in martial arts training to find the right community to help that child bring out their personal best.


Great place to learn Judo. Especially welcoming for beginners with most kids in the 6-12 year old range. Sensei Harold has been teaching Judo for many, many years and is a fully qualified Judo instructor and National referee. The program operates as a non-profit and is also very reasonably priced. My son has gained a lot of self-confidence from being a part of the program having started out as almost too shy to join in, he now will lead drills and has participated in local tournaments in front of hundreds of people (and won one!). I highly recommend MI Judo. 

If you want to give a shout out to your favorite martial arts school, find it in our directory and leave a review. That way, parents looking for a welcoming environment where their children can learn the art of self-defense will find your recommendation. Thanks to all who participated.

And on with the next in our series of Readers’ Choice polls.

Next week we'll be talking about the Readers' Choice on Mercer Island with a Mexican theme. A poll on where you can find the best burrito on Mercer Island is coming up next Monday, March 26, beginning at 9 a.m. We've already begun compiling our list of burrito spots, which isn't limited to just Mexican restaurants.

In two weeks, we'll be asking about the Readers' Choice of “Best place to do your taxes (at the last minute)” — so be sure to let us know who needs to be on the list.

We welcome nominations for great burrito places and skilled. local CPAs to put in our polls. Please email the editor at kendall.watson@patch.com or let us know on Facebook.


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