Martial Arts School Reborn as Community Center

Photo Essay • David Meza

In 1982, Eddie Solis opened Solis Martial Arts in San Pablo, which has over the years provided hundreds of children and families living in the Richmond and San Pablo communities with martial arts training.

Now, Solis’s son James, who is the current executive director, has converted the martial arts school to a community center. The school will now be called 23HQ x Solis, and will provide community events and immigration services in addition to already existing arts and expression classes, fitness and health instruction, and leadership training. The center has also become a space for Zumba, hip hop dancers, and gymnastics.

“For the past two years I have been creating relationships with the families that have come to Solis Martial Arts,” says James Solis. “In that time I found out that a majority of our students came from broken and single-parent homes. So I created 23HQ as a community hub to help our students, their families and the larger community.”

James Solis’s larger goal is to create community leaders for the cities of Richmond and San Pablo. Richmond youth Roxanne Alejandre attended the center’s grand reopening and said, “It was very impressive that after almost 40 years of Solis Martial Arts being in our community, James Solis has made it into a community hub. It’s not for just karate anymore.”

The new 23HQ is located at 1169 23rd Street in San Pablo.

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