Haymaker is an anti-racist, anti-sexist gym in Chicago. We provide self-defense, martial arts, and fitness classes to anyone in Chicago, regardless of ability and income level. Our gym is completely based on volunteer participation and all of our classes are free.
Most gyms sell their customers on ideals of strength and fitness. But we’re not here to make people fit in with damaging images of desirability and violent masculinity.We strive to organize ourselves and our gym on the basis of strength, solidarity, and autonomy.
Strength, for us, is not being able to resist or overpower forces outside of us. Being strong means grappling with and overcoming our own weaknesses; it means being vulnerable with each other, supporting each other, and changing ourselves, together.
We want to have each others’ backs, whether in the gym or without. Building trust through collective practices and showing up for each other is solidarity. In a world increasingly characterized by a growing list of threats and crises, many turn to the ideal of the rugged individual persevering through the chaos. Instead, we turn to each other and ask how we can positively contribute to the struggles around us. Finally, we organize autonomously because strength and care cannot grow amidst institutions that disempower us. In this precarious world, we don't expect anyone to come and save us. We're all we've got. We’re not affiliated with any political organization or party. Instead, we believe in the value of experimentation as different people meet each other and take collective ownership over the space they share.