A New Floor for Fighting Chance!

$3,306 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 39 people in 5 months
Jordan Giarratano  SEATTLE, WA
Fighting Chance Seattle is a community dojo, dedicated to fostering personal empowerment through martial arts. Founded by Sensei Jordan Giarratano in 2011, the dojo has grown to support 50 students attending 12 classes per week (with a goal to empower up to 100 enrolled students). We also offer an after-school program for kids and teens; a highly-rated monthly seminar on women's self defense; as well as an ongoing series of volunteer outreach events aimed at combating rape culture and championing community-defense strategies.

It is more than a gym: it's a safe space for students to engage physically, mentally and emotionally, to be supported, and to take the risks they need to become their biggest, best self. We provide ourselves on offering an inclusive, unintimidating environment for people to discover their power.

Fighting Chance has grown from two classes per week to a full-time business over five years, and we are incredibly proud of what we have built together. But as the dojo and its student population have grown, so have the needs of out space. In order to sustain a safe training environment for students, it has become apparent that we need to tear out and replace the current floor. This renovation will both help prevent injury, ease instruction and participation in class, and expand our opportunities to empower more students - and while ultimately it will be a boon, the upfront costs are significant for a values-driven, locally-owned micro-business. We are reaching out to our community to help us offset the labor and material cost of this necessary investment.


As part of our commitment to giving back to the community we will offer one full-year scholarship, to a student in need, to our teen martial arts program for the 2017 - 2018 school year if we reach $4,000 and two if we meet our goal of $8,000.

We are also offering exclusive rewards for donors to this campaign - check them out! Should we raise any additional funds, we will be adding stretch goals (listed below), all aimed at giving back to our community and continuing to foster the relationships that make Fighting Chance possible.

Fighting Chance Seattle Homepage
RSVP to the Dojo Open House
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Interview with Sensei Jordan
Outreach Program - Run Prepared
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Update 2
Posted by Jordan Giarratano
5 months ago
A week from today, FIGHTING CHANCE SEATTLE will be hosting an open house & anniversary party. For a small business to survive five years is a big deal! Join us on Saturday, December 3, from 6 – 10 pm; we’ll be opening our dojo to our community to share an evening of live music, art, and martial arts demos. I’d love to see everyone there: campaign donors, past and present students, community supporters, vendors, fellow martial artists and instructors, and friends! Please join us!

RSVP here: bit.ly/fcs-party
Photo by Sabreen Lakhani
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Update 1
Posted by Jordan Giarratano
5 months ago
I opened Fighting Chance Seattle with $500. I bought a set of Thai pads, paid for a year of insurance, and got a CPR certification. I had about $8 leftover. For the next two years I reinvested every dollar earned back into the dojo, I did not draw personal income from this business until the third year. When two students became four students, I bought another set of pads. When four became eight, I bought our first heavy bag. Every step of the way this business earned its keep and I continued to invest in the student experience.

But, that easy progression was not to last. Small businesses grow in spurts. They expand when they are ready, sometimes suddenly, usually painfully. In 2014 I took on a business partner and invested in a full set of Thai pads and Focus Mitts from Fairtex, multiple sets of dumbbells, five more heavy bags, and various other pieces of equipment to grow the dojo. We were now able to fully serve our students and we continued to grow.

For most of 2015 our programs were full (classes were limited to 12 students by the size of our room) and we had a waiting list. By early 2016 we knocked down a wall and expanded into the back room of Outrageously Fit, essentially doubling in size to potential classes of 24 (and doubling our expenses).

Small businesses go under in their first five years for a lot of reasons - bad location, can't find their market, they're inconsistent or don't offer value - but one of the biggest reasons: they are not prepared for growth. The infrastructural demands, the learning curve, the equipment and material costs, the personnel needs, can absolutely break a small business.

2016 was the final round of our five year title fight to fully realize this business model. We came in with a busted nose and one eye swollen shut, arms too heavy to block the punches, but determined not to go down. And with the support of our members and volunteers, we grew the dojo into the new space.

As we began to fill up, it became utterly apparent that our puzzle mat floor, now four years old, and disintegrating a little more each day, was ready to be retired. To replace the floor completely is a cost-prohibitive amount for a growing small business. Even if we maintain our tight budget, it'd probably take us about eighteen months to save up for a new floor - not counting the additional business taxes we're facing down this year.

We're reaching out to the community to ask for support. In exchange we'd like to offer what we do best: offering empowering martial arts and self-defense classes to our community. Since day one this dojo has focused on giving back, on using our training to support and empower others.

With a high-density foam floor that runs wall-to-wall in the dojo we will increase our capacity to bring our community in for free outreach classes. We improve the training experience of the entire dojo. We can empower more people, more effectively.

Every donation makes this goal a little bit more achievable.
The dojo in 2012.
Investing in Equipment (2014)
The expansion (2016).
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$3,306 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 39 people in 5 months
Created November 11, 2016
Jordan Giarratano  
Phoebi Crawford
28 days ago
29 days ago
Kimberley Zakian
1 month ago
Stephanie Morgan
4 months ago
Caroline Leu
4 months ago
4 months ago
Cris Fowler
4 months ago

Sorry it took me a couple days to donate. We won a 1 hour photoshoot with Sabreen Lakhani.

4 months ago
Ambre Helland
4 months ago

Bid for theater tickets :)

Ben Scannell
4 months ago

Luna Bulan Bracelet

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