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Bagua is a Chinese internal martial art with health, meditation and fighting applications. It is notable for its circular movement and continuous posture changes. Because of its focus on solo practice, Bagua is well-suited for people with chronic injuries and other health limitations.


Fridays 3-4pm
El Qilombo 2313 San Pablo Ave Oakland

Saturdays 12:30-1:30pm
parking lot – 170 E 10th St Oakland (rain or shine)

As with all classes which are part of the Bay Area Public School, class is offered at no charge.

Melisa Spence studies Baguazhang, Xingyiquan and Visayan Eskrima under Maija Soderholm. She is also a student of Danzan Ryu Jujutsu and Toyama Ryu Battodo (sword). She has been teaching self defense with Girl Army collective since 2001.


“Melisa is a conscientious, attentive and knowledgeable instructor, with a clear and gentle but firm presence. Her class is fun and accessible while at the same time challenging and effective. She pays special attention to making the class work for students with disabilities and other individual needs, and her experience in mental health work, self-defense and security as well as martial arts make her teaching rich and meaningful. I believe that studying Bagua and Xingyi in her class so far have made me healthier, more comfortable in my body, and more confident in my ability to engage with other people physically. I recommend her class to other people regularly.”

- Lee W.

“Melisa has been my self-defense instructor since 2012. Melisa is a dream teacher because she embodies: patience, wisdom, years of experience, kindness, humor, compassion and love for what she does and care for her students. She is grounded in presence and carries confidence that is not arrogant nor pretentious. Melisa also has this uncanny intuition of tracking her students’ strengths and nudging them out. She does not see weakness, instead she has unwavering faith in the potentials each student has to offer. Using what she observes of her students’ individual uniqueness, Melisa is skillfull in honing, tweaking and customizing her lessons to fit each student’s capacity. I have been so honored to be her student and empowered because of her facilitation.”

- Fei C.


Friday, June 20, 2014 - 15:00
El Qilombo 2313 San Pablo Ave Oakland more
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