Haymaker is a popular fitness & self-defense gym in Chicago. We provide self-defense, martial arts, and strength training to anyone in Chicago, regardless of ability and income level.
We organize ourselves on the basis of strength, solidarity, and autonomy. These values describe both the way we organize ourselves and the gym we are in the process of creating.
Strength is not primarily being able to resist or overcome forces outside of us. To us, strength means overcoming our own weaknesses – it means changing ourselves, together. Such strength is necessary if we are to become a force capable not only of self-defense, but of social transformation.
We believe in solidarity because we know our personal transformation is also a collective transformation and, as the saying goes,an injury to one is an injury to all. We vow to care for each other in times of vulnerability and to keep each other safe as we become dangerous together.
We believe in autonomy 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 have to fight for ourselves and each other, because we're all we've got.