Underground Self-Defence


Master Mary Murphy Edwards owned her first martial arts studio in 1984 in Montreal, Canada where she taught Fred Villari’s Shaolin Kempo Karate. In 1989, she opened our current studio on State Street. During her career she operated several schools, trained exceptional instructors who continue to teach in Madison and beyond, and launched one of the first local kickboxing programs in the 90’s.

A pioneer for women in the martial arts, she passed her legacy to her daughter Ali Treviño-Murphy in 2007, who soon after initiated the transition to cooperative ownership while pursuing her masters degree in social work. We officially became Villari’s Martial Arts Cooperative in 2013. Since then, we’ve deepened our expertise in Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD), an evidence-based violence prevention strategy.

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