Tsun Jo® Martial Art - Seattle, WA
Self-Defense | Strategy | The Courage to Act 
The Bruce Lee Connection

FAQ included 

The Greenlake Martial Arts School was founded in 1980 by Sijo John N Beall.  Our school is very successful at producing effective and well trained martial artists. The Greenlake Martial Arts School is not particularly large or fancy, but it has some of the best equipment and methods for martial arts training that can be found anywhere in the world.  


In 2010, Head Instructor Matt Soule took over the Greenlake Martial Arts School upholding the legacy and excellent reputation Sijo Beall created over the previous 3 decades.   Today it continues to thrive.


Are you new to martial arts but want to experience the benefits of training? Or ​do you have previous experience and want to continue to grow as a martial artist? 


This school helps students new to martial arts as well as those with extensive martial arts backgrounds.  

"..​There is no better school in the Pacific Northwest for [self-defense] non-sport fight training."

- Former US Army Ranger / Special Operator - Marty S.​​  

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From Matt Soule, Head Instructor of the Greenlake Martial Arts School


What is Greenlake Martial Arts All About?

As the head instructor of Greenlake Martial Arts, the 3 primary goals for my desire to share martial arts with the world is

1) to offer students of all ages, sizes, skill levels and backgrounds the capability to defend ourselves from a real world threat situation;

2) to ensure to the best of my ability, that I teach - and cultivate a culture to pursue - the most relevant information in martial arts so that should we find ourselves in a situation where self defense is needed, we are prepared for the widest possibility of circumstances and opponents.

3) to offer students a way to train that will improve their lives, so that our practice serves to improve both ourselves and our community making a lifelong impact through martial arts.


How do we meet these goals at Greenlake Martial Arts?

We do this in a number of ways.

We offer separate programs focusing on three different age groups, Youth, Teen and Adult as well as specialized workshops and classes that meet the needs of our community. We teach, volunteer and participate in a variety of settings from regular ongoing classes to shelters and corporate environments to serve wide community needs. Our youngest students have started as early as age 5 and our oldest members have trained well into their 70s. Our training methods, as well as the reliance on proven and sound strategies for self defense, allow these vast ranges to exist without compromising quality or participation.  


We train the individual to make the most of what he or she has to maximize protection in a self-defense conflict.


Whether an opponent is bigger, stronger, faster, skilled, has a weapon, or other variables, our students train with the understanding and intent that all of the above is valid and must be considered. We prepare with the mindset that the environment may contain obstacles or poor footing, that the clothing or footwear may be restrictive, or that there may be more than one opponent.


Essential to what we teach is principle-based movement & reaction with adaptability built into all, so that YOU are armed with simplified decision making, multifunctional skills & ready for action.  


In this way we will be as prepared as possible to address real world threats from a wide variety of possibilities. This is a very different philosophy than many martial arts schools I have seen and /or been a part of over the years. It is quite common for example that students focus on a particular ruleset or style of opponent, or learn skills that only function by themselves, i.e. there is no flow or natural adaptation built in the moves which greatly limit the move’s usefulness or applicability. Or when considering self defense, teachers often make the mistake of training students for the “average guy” meaning that this potential attacker might be bigger or maybe stronger at best, but the assumption is that he or she is unskilled, will most certainly throw wild punches, have little to no experience in street altercations or will likely not understand distance very well, and so on. This in stark contrast to our beliefs and training methods at Greenlake Martial Arts.


Training and preparation often makes the difference in outcomes where self-defense is needed.  Whether you have 3 weeks, 3 months or years to train, we have programs, classes and workshops designed to fit your needs.  We work with students to ensure they are meeting their goals.  At the root of self-defense is the essential knowledge and practice of simplied decision making for what to do and when.  Some of this can be learned quite rapidly.  


However, true and lasting skill takes time and there are a great deal of benefits that come from extended training.  We are a culture that promotes training for life.  Training for life requires consideration and active participation balancing health and training. At Greenlake Martial Arts we seek the balance through daily meditation, physical conditioning and appropriate training methods to match high percentage strategies with safe training practices. The training available at Greenlake Martial Arts elevates consciousness allowing us to become increasingly aware, tending to our collective goal of becoming a culture of observers, vastly improve our nervous system integration and coordination, while balancing and directing our emotional intensity and responses. We train with respect by looking out for fellow training partners to cultivate an environment of support while pushing one another to become better martial artists and better people.

I am grateful to be part of this community dedicated to skill development, self and peer improvement, camaraderie and community involvement making a positive impact through martial arts.


Through a range of training options, small classes, and focused instruction, each student is given an opportunity to become a competent and effective martial artist. Through training, you can replace vulnerability and awkwardness with confidence and great martial arts skill. I will do my best to help you to realize and achieve your full potential as a martial artist and as a person.   




Matt Soule


History and Meaning of Tsun Jo®

The primary method taught at the Greenlake Martial Arts School is known as Tsun Jo®, a cohesive self defense system developed for real world survival fighting needs.  


Tsun Jo®

The first and second characters are “Tsun Jo” (pronounced in Cantonese as “chewn joe”), meaning “faithful or loyal descendant”. Respect for the teachers who came before is fundamental and is represented in the very name of Tsun Jo®.



The third character is “Kuen” (rhymes with “tune”), meaning “fist”. The use of this character says that Tsun Jo is a style of “boxing” (fighting method).

Tsun Jo® differs in many ways from other martial arts styles, but it stands on a foundation of moves, training methods, and conceptual underpinnings that derive from both classical sources and modern improvements.


Tsun Jo® and Wing Chun Kung Fu

One of the strongest influences on Tsun Jo® is Wing Chun kung fu, a system of Chinese boxing that was invented by and named for women hundreds of years ago to enable even a relatively small person to prevail over a larger and stronger person without necessarily requiring a lifetime of training. A couple of hundred years later, the Wing Chun master Ip Man fled China at the time of the Communist takeover and taught Wing Chun in Hong Kong, in what was probably the first Wing Chun school anywhere. One of his most serious students would eventually become quite famous: Bruce Lee.


The Bruce Lee Connection 

Bruce Lee moved from Hong Kong as a young man and settled in Seattle. With a small group of people here, he continued to develop, test, and refine his skills. His first training partners included Jesse Glover (a judo champion), James DeMile (a heavyweight boxing champion in the US Air Force), and Ed Hart (lifelong student of the martial arts, including judo and professional boxing). During this time training with this group, Bruce modified the traditional Wing Chun moves, stances, and tactics to make them more effective for dealing with the larger opponents he found in America. These modifications included influences from such sources as fencing and American boxing. Bruce moved to California and became quite famous for the speed and dynamic intensity that he brought to the movie screen. Tragically, he died at a very early age.

Sijo John N Beall is the founder of the Tsun Jo® system. From his earliest days studying martial arts, he considered efficiency and practical results to be absolute priorities. He has continually refined his individual fighting style, as well as methods of teaching students. Sijo Beall trained in a variety of fighting methods, including karate, boxing, and judo. Circumstances of environment also provided him with a background in street fighting. Two of the most influential teachers he had in developing his skills were James DeMile and Ed Hart, two of Bruce Lee’s first training partners in Seattle. In the early 1980s, Sijo Beall realized that the structure, training methods, and application of what he was teaching qualified as a distinct style, and he founded the Tsun Jo® system and the Greenlake Martial Arts School.


Sijo Beall has been involved in writing books and producing instructional videos of Tsun Jo®. He is also a successful inventor with multiple US patents, including for some of the martial arts training equipment used in the school.


Sijo Beall believes strongly that people should not just be “takers”, but should be “givers” as well and make a contribution toward improving their community whenever possible.  This tradition still remains as a central tenet of Tsun Jo®  practitioners and the Greenlake Martial Arts School.  


Highly Effective and Practical Self-Defense. Function, Not Flash.

What students learn at the Greenlake Martial Arts School is highly effective. In many other schools of different styles, some of what is taught is practical and some is not. The student may be learning moves that will actually worsen a dangerous situation. In those schools, a student interested in practical self-defense must sift through and restructure moves to produce a viable form of self-defense. This is quite an unreasonable burden for someone that has come to learn. This school places no such load on the student. What is taught here will serve you well if you ever have to use it.


Some martial arts schools have a dog-eat-dog training atmosphere and high injury rates. The training environment here is one of respect and safety by looking out for fellow training partners to cultivate an environment of support while pushing one another to become better martial artists and better people. The injury rate is extremely low, but the skill level remains very high.  

What is Tsun Jo®?  A Strategy based self-defense method
Tsun Jo® is a strategy based martial art. The goal of Tsun Jo® for survival fighting is to end the altercation as quickly as possible without taking damage. The moves and training used in Tsun Jo® are conceptually advanced, extremely effective and fit very well together to create a highly efficient and adaptable self-defense fighting method. Using fast, powerful strikes and efficient body motion to interrupt, blend and redirect an opponent’s attack, this beautifully engineered system seeks to make the most of what each individual has, if and when they have to fight.  

Who is Tsun Jo® for?

It is for those who want to develop an exceptional skill set for self defense.  Because this method relies on leverage, maximizing speed and responses as well as simplied decision making skills, this method that works well for small or large people, male or female.  It makes the most of what an individual has, if or, when they have to fight. It is for people who want the confidence and skill to deal with anyone who may mean you harm.  It is for people want maximum results for the time invested in their training. 


Does Tsun Jo® include ground defense?  

Our standard curriculum covers the essentials so that you can be prepared if a fight moves to the ground.  We focus on highly important self defense elements while giving students a cohesive skillset to deal with opponents if the altercation is taken to the ground.  This can include defense against takedowns, defending strikes, bites or kicks and other real world threats.   In addition to a variety of defenses, we teach how to apply high percentage chokes, locks and holds to best prepare students for a successful outcome.     



Is there a focus on physical conditioning?  

Yes, every class has bag and target training (head bags, heavy bags, kicking shields, etc), where we practice high reps for skills.  This is a combination of skill work and cardio which serves as an extended warm-up and physical conditioning.  



Do you teach classes for women only?

Yes, we offer Women's Tsun Jo® (WTJ) which meets weekly, and Women’s Self Defense workshops quarterly.  


Do kids and adults train together?  

No, for safety reasons and also to ensure that students are receiving the best and most appropriate instruction, our programs are separated into the Youth program, the Teen program, and the Adult program.   


Want to learn more about Tsun Jo®...


Why is  Tsun Jo® an evolution in martial art?

It includes concepts and strategies that are highly advanced and unique. Further, out of the thousands of moves found in martial arts, Tsun Jo® has pulled only moves that have the highest percentage of success and moves that fit cohesively together to ensure they are seamlessly adaptable. The moves in Tsun Jo® pull for a large variety of martial arts principals from various other arts including Wing Chun, Judo, Wrestling, Boxing, Jeet Kune Do, Karate, and more.  However, many moves have been altered or refined to greatly improve chances of successfully ending an altercation as quickly as possible without taking damage. There are very clear strategies combined with high result producing training methods. The training methods have very strict criteria for what is used. Hundreds of "low percentage" moves used in many martial arts are eliminated, leaving only essential high percentage moves. 


What makes Tsun Jo®  different?

From the beginning, the Tsun Jo® Martial Arts System has distinguished itself from all other martial arts systems by focusing on what is absolutely essential.  Most martial arts systems include moves or practices that may or may not be relevant to protecting oneself in a real self-defense situation.  Tsun Jo® is unique in that it requires moves that have a very high percentage chance of success, adapts even if the initial move is not immediately successful and maximizes the natural elements of gravity, momentum and force to complement power and efficiency.  It is taught from a realistic understanding that moves function for multiple purposes.  This is critical to be able to protect from a large variety of attacks and respond in the short time it takes to counterattack and gain advantage. Tsun Jo® starts with strategy, then stacks advantages upon advantages to give the ultimate fighter's edge in street situations where self-defense is needed.

Is the training safe?  Is the training realistic?

Although there is inherent risk in training all martial arts, we have an excellent safety record.  This is achieved by having every student, regardless of previous experience, go through this method step by step.  How fast each student advances is up to the individual, but everyone starts at the same place.  This ensures quality training in a safe environment.  As each student progresses, the level of intensity is raised safely because the skill and control is there to complement the realism of the training.

Guidelines and Principles of Tsun Jo®

Below is a partial list of the guidelines and principles of Tsun Jo®.  Students employ and embody these principles to adapt to whatever situation is at hand.

- Step by step training methods
- Simultaneous offense and defense
- Using Gravity as a complement to technique
- Working to undermine the opponent's balance
- Maintaining a squared up position so both arms have equal reach to the opponent.
- At close range. Using contact as the primary means of response, i.e.“sticking” or "sensing"  Sight becomes a secondary
  method of  response at this range.
- At outside ranges, sight response is the primary tool.
- Simple, effective footwork is used to gain a positional advantage for counterattacking, closing the gap and sticking.
- Interrupting the opponent's move before it reaches full speed and
- power is called "jamming" and it is used extensively.
- The opponent's force, energy or commitment is considered an asset to be taken advantage of whenever possible.
- Mental strategies that enhance fast decision processes are utilized.
- Positive and negative effects of fear as they relate to self-defense.
- The emotional aspect of confrontation as it relates to self defense.
- Moves are refined to eliminate wasted motion and to maximize speed, power, balance and position.

Tsun Jo® training methods and philosophy are very realistic.  Moves are used that complement  and work with the natural structure and nervous system.  As a general rule, the legs defend against most kicking attacks, and the hands and arms defend against most striking attacks. The ready stance incorporates the elements of surprise, mobility, and the use of gravity.  The fighting posture and stance are designed to minimize openings and target areas. It provides a high level of mobility and is ideal for the integration of offensive and defensive moves. It is also ideal for striking, low kicking, pressure control and standing grappling. This is also very effective for weapons use or defense against weapons.  Tsun Jo® is primarily an empty hand method of fighting although understanding the use of clubs, knives and firearms is also an important aspect of skill development.  In Tsun Jo® schools, students are courteous and train safely. Instructors treat students with respect and work closely with them to ensure they are making progress and developing the skills intended. Proper interaction with training partners can serve as a model for positive participation within the larger human community.



Tsun Jo® training produces rapid results for the absolute best in self defense.