Pittsburgh Combat Club

Pittsburgh Combat Club

5.0 (5)
1 hire on Lessons.com
1 employee
7 years in business

About this pro



The Pittsburgh Combat Club is not a chain martial arts school nor is it a cardio kickboxing class. We do not train for sport or for exercise. We train so that we can, if called upon, protect ourselves, our family and/or those in need when under personal attack.  In so doing, every effort is given to make training a realistic endeavor.  


  • Partner Drills: we work with a training partner & do very little solo practice. Our classes tend to be no bigger than 10-person study groups. This gives us the best "hands-on" instruction for learning.
  • Contact: we like to make contact. We are usually hitting each other, a bag, the mitts, a training dummy, a striking target, etc.
  • Energy Work: we teach how to respond to the escalation of tension and to be able to “feel” your opponent’s intent/energy.
  • Environmental Conditions: we train year-round in all climates, weather conditions, terrains, clothing types, etc. - know your environment and how it can help/hinder your abilities to protect yourself.
  • Weapons Focus: we train in practical "tools" so you can learn how to turn anything to your advantage & understand that your best weapon is your mind.
  • Violence: we try to study & understand violence. We want to learn how to use it as a tool and recognize it in the field of use.

I love seeing the learning and developing process of my students. When they see that they too can do this and do it well, I feel like I have made a difference.

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Pittsburgh, PA 15220
Email verified
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5 Reviews


  • Weston Lyon

    I've been a student for the past 14+ years, and I continue to come back week after week and learn from David because there's always something new. Not only can I fine-tune my skills with new students, David is always studying and always advancing his own skill and craft and sharing that new knowledge with advanced students. In addition, the PCC is like a family. The students are a close-knit group of individuals, who enjoy each other's company while training together. There's no competition here to see who's the top dog. Each student is responsible for helping his or her classmates achieve a greater understanding of the techniques each and every class (with the help of the instructor). Last - and this is important to know if you're considering checking us out - David and the PCC do not teach for sport or MMA. We teach real self-defense tactics that anyone can use to defend themselves. You don't have to be young and in shape. You don't have to be flexible and kick over your head (in fact, we'll deter you from doing that!). You just have to interested in trying something new and have a passion for learning. If that's you, then why not give us a shot? You've got nothing to lose. Heck, you may even make a friend or two ;-)

  • Diana Fletcher

    David is an incredible teacher! Knowledgeable, professional, encouraging--everything you want an instructor to be. He makes learning fun even though self defense is serious stuff. he has taught me an incredible amount and I will be back for more lessons! He has helped me be more confident that I can protect myself if need be.

  • Sarah McKenzie

    Working with Pittsburgh Combat Club is awesome because it is designed to make self defense easy to learn and remember. I’ve taken courses every year for decades and most instructors give you things that need to be learned over time. As you improve, you are given more technique and more complicated lessons but they build on each other and they are always brought back to getting you back to your family. Speaking of family, the Pittsburgh Combat Club has become my second and I could not be more grateful.

  • Kirk Bandi

    David is knowledgeable in many martial arts. All hands on and very helpful. David wants to make sure each student gets each technique. Everybody is very friendly i consider everybody part of my martial art family.

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?


PCC classes are usually small study groups. By keeping classes small and intimate, students are able to learn faster and absorb more information. 

The majority of PCC classes last about 90 mins.  These training sessions are loaded with actual instruction and "hands-on" activities/drills so that students can learn the concepts and techniques to the best of their ability. 

We train in the PCC studio as well as outside in the elements. Sensible clothing and footwear is required based on the season and prevailing weather of each class.

We usually have a range of learning experience in each class with some students been studying for a few years and others a few months. We are all teachers and students together. Learning, teaching, growing as needed. 

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

David has been training in the combative arts steadily for about the past thirty-one years. After beginning in the 1980s and earning a Black-belt in Taekwondo, he went on to study privately with Mr. Mathew Amend who was a very gifted practitioner in the martial arts. Mr. Amend’s curriculum was a very basic blend of some core arts: Karate, Taijutsu, Wing Chun and Kobudo. His curriculum represents the base of David's training.

In 1993 David left the United States to live and work in Japan. While living there, he was able to train in Aikikai Aikido and intensely research areas of his own desire. He returned to the U.S. in 1996 and began to informally teach the Amend system that he had learned previously.  At the same time, he still wanted to diversify his own training and started attending various martial art seminars regularly. These seminars were mainly about the Malaysian, Filipino and Indonesian martial arts. To further his quest for martial knowledge in this area, David established a training relationship with Mr. Don Garon’s Pennsylvania Karate Academy in the late 1990s.

During 2002, David finally started regularly teaching a small handful of students at his own private martial arts club that he named the Pittsburgh Combat Club. The PCC featured David's own systematized blend of martial training. David's focus all along has been about an all-reality, all-of-the-time system of self-defense. His objective is to truly teach others how to effectively protect themselves when confronted by an attacker.

After losing his wife to cancer, the one constant that eased his grief was training and teaching. As a result, David decided to bring the PCC out into the public's eye with his current focus on weekly self-defense classes, self-defense workshops and private group seminars. This is his passion. He lives and breathes learning about the combat arts. But maybe more importantly he truly is a teacher. His commitment to hands-on, transferable learning is second to none.

- Weston Lyon, Friend & Student of 14 Years

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.


If after the FREE classes you decide we’re a good fit for each other, then we’ll talk about the details of becoming a student. If you decide we’re not the right fit for each other, then we’ll part ways as friends and you’ll have some invaluable skills in your back pocket if anything ever happens to you or your family.

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What types of students have you worked with?

Our students are quiet diverse and come from all walks of life. Both male/female and young/old. 

Here's a quick breakdown:

*Weekly Classes: typically 18+ to 65 years old; men and women; have a strong desire and time to develop the skill sets requuired.

*Workshops: typically professionals with limited time but who want to learn the quick and fast basics of self-defense. Workshop groups have included the following clients: Real Estate Agents, Corporate Execs & Professionals, College bound female students, Local High Schools, Running & Jogging groups, NRA sanctioned gun clubs, etc.

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Describe a recent event you are fond of.

My student Sarah and I just recently taught a private group of college bound high school girls. They hired us for our "Up Against the Wall" workshop. These girls were complete beginners and the learned the fundamentals of how to protect themselves when someone means them real harm.

Check out our workshops here:

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Try out a free class. Ask many, many questions. Talk to the other students who are going to that school. 

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