Popular Fitness & Self-Defense

Haymaker is a donation based popular fitness & self-defense gym in Chicago. We provide self-defense, agility, and strength training to anyone in Chicago, regardless of ability. Our fitness is based on solidarity and mutual-aid. In the face of violent white nationalism and the rise of the alt-right, we are building the strength to protect one another. We not only want to improve ourselves, but help create a new world along the way.


We believe in strength because we must be stronger than those who want us to suffer or wipe us out. We must be unafraid as we become a force capable not only of self-defense, but of social transformation. We believe in solidarity because we know our personal transformation is a collective transformation and that an injury to one is an injury to all. We will keep each other safe and become dangerous together. We believe in autonomy because we must fight our enemies without relying on institutions that disempower us.  We must fight for ourselves.

some of our team



Naila is a student and activist who organizes for racial and gender justice. When hate crimes spiked during Trump’s campaign, she knew her appearance put her at higher risk for attack. She wants to create a space where femmes and people of color can train to strike back.


Meyer has spent years building international solidarity on food and housing issues. After being attacked by a group of white supremacists and losing several teeth, he understands first-hand the need to organize in self-defense against rising anti-Semitism.  Meyer is inspired by figures like Pacifico Di Consiglio, a Jewish teenagerorganized an anti-facist boxing gym under Mussolini’s regime.

Shout out to Molly Crabapple, illustrator of our website banner above, and her model, Sashalyn Medina! Please check out their amazing work at https://mollycrabapple.com and http://sashalynillo.com.