Donation-based yoga classes are popular at studios across the city, but Brooklyn Masterskya in Bushwick is the first martial arts school in town to offer a donation-based program for its students.
Alex Ecklin and his business partner Evor Guevarra opened the studio in June 2016 to offer inexpensive classes with quality trainers. Both Ecklin and Guevarra hold black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and have been training together for the past seven years.
“Evor and I had a big idea to make martial arts accessible to everyone,” said Ecklin. “I had seen donation-based yoga classes but no martial arts. My program is donation-based because I didn’t want to deal with a person behind a desk and billing. I wanted everyone to be able to afford it,” he added.
Both Ecklin and Guevarra are from Brooklyn, and chose the location based on the neighborhood and studio demands.
“We found a very good deal in the neighborhood with a landlord who believed in what we were doing, which has made it easier. It was previously a dance studio, so it was set up for our needs,” Guevarra said.
In a separate program at the studio, Guevarra teaches children ages 9 to 14 years old. The program is $100 for the month, which, according to the two partners, is immensely more affordable than most.
“Many martial schools in Manhattan are over $200 a month for children. We’re really trying to provide a space for people to train and not worry about money,” Ecklin said.
Guevarra does not require uniforms for the children, as it is an unnecessary expense.
Ecklin encourages that all adults at any level join his class. “When someone is brand new I partner the student with myself or someone who is experienced so they can catch up,” he said.
The ultimate goal for the two partners is to offer the best training possible at affordable rates. They also provide work for martial arts instructors in Bushwick and surrounding neighborhoods.
The full schedule can be found at on their website at Masterskya.com with instructions on how to attend a class.
All photos by Lanna Apisukh for Bushwick Daily.