“I have no hesitation recommending Jordan Giarratano to anyone wanting high-quality self-protection or martial arts instruction. His earnest desire to help his students grow in confidence and ability is clear in all he does. Jordan is a teacher who gets it on all levels. There are not many like him.”
Four Uncles Karate is a document of my journey to understand and embody the practical self-defense roots of karate and to recontextualize the art for the modern era. Writing, videos, and seminars are all ways for me to share what I learn on this pilgrimage. It is curated, based on what I value, but it is not a system, nor a closed practice and it’s certainly not an attempt at defining what karate is for everyone.
Karate is more than an art to me, it’s an operating system, a philosophy. My karate informed my education and my work as a graphic designer and bartender, and my karate was thus informed by each career. The soft skills I learned as a bartender deepened my self-defense practice. The core concepts that drive design — intention, clarity of purpose, organization, and form follows function — deepened my understanding of karate.
Through my training with Iain Abernethy my understanding of the practical roots of karate deepened and I became fascinated by the stories of the old masters. In particular I was inspired by Mabuni Kenwa, Motobu Choki, Funakoshi Gichen, and Miyagi Chojun. I’d already begun detaching from style in my teaching and by focusing on the principles and methods of “the four uncles” I was able to deepen and evolve my practice. I earned my Introductory Instructor certificate from Iain in 2017.
My commitment to karate began in 1994 under Master Leonard Galli. Under his technical and well-rounded instruction I was cross-trained in a variety of styles. I continued in Muay Thai, kickboxing, and grappling throughout my twenties. I was awarded my 3rd Dan under Galli in 2017.
In October 2011, I opened Fighting Chance Seattle with $500 and a schedule of two classes per week. Within two years it was my full-time job. I launched a unique Self-Defense for Women workshop that’s come to be our flagship offering. In February 2017, Kelly Herron, a woman who trained in one of my self-defense seminars fought off an attacker in Seattle. I appeared on Good Morning America and in the Seattle Times with Kelly to help spread her message of empowerment.
In addition I completed a personal training certificate in 2012 (NASM) and continue to train in nonviolent communication, compassionate listening, and a variety of interpersonal tools and skills.