Physical and Internal Strength at Blade & Fist Martial Arts

June 2018

Blade Fist Martial ArtsMartial arts have long been valued for building physical strength and skill as well as internal strength and discipline. Now, a growing body of research shows that the arts have even more far-reaching benefits—reducing stress, improving cardiovascular and neurologic health, and lessening inflammatory response.
Jon and Forrester Merripen have recognized the advantages of martial arts practice for years. They bring decades of martial arts practice and skills to the school they opened just a year and a half ago in Ashland—Blade & Fist Martial Arts, located at 255 Helman Street.

The father-son team moved here recently from California, where Jon studied western swordsmanship and taught it to Forrester when he was just a child. The two of them then studied Taekwondo at a school in Los Gatos. Eventually Jon went on to train and earn the title Sifu (master teacher) with the school’s Kung Fu Sifu, Vince Lacey.

Finally, they decided to share their love of the arts with others. “Dad and I decided it was time to open a martial arts studio,” says Forrester, “and in January, we opened Blade and Fist.”

Blade and Fist offers Taekwondo as well as two styles of Kung Fu—Buk Sing Choy Lay Fut and Wing Chun. Buk Sing Kung Fu is a combat form of Kung Fu, focusing mostly on practical application. The Wing Chun program offers a subtle approach to martial arts, training the practitioner to use an attacker’s strengths against them. Taekwondo, says Forrester, is “a great style for those who are looking to keep distance between an opponent and themselves.”

The school accepts students of all ages and skill levels. “We work with individuals to figure out which program is right for them, help them achieve their goals, and find out what they are capable of,” says Jon. “We’ve guided students from ages five to 60 who haven’t had any martial arts training to help them find what they need within themselves.”

Blade and Fist’s children’s Taekwondo program teaches confidence, body awareness, and understanding of self. Adults can participate in a variety of martial arts in regularly scheduled one-hour classes or on a pay-per-class, flexible basis. Students also have access to sparring classes, where they can try what they’ve learned against people who are learning a different martial art.

As a bonus, Jon adds, students can “get a chance to show off” what they learn at the Black Sheep’s First Friday show.

For more info, the phone number is 408-596-1504. You can also see them at and on Facebook.