Clara E. Minor Martial Arts Instructor - Santa Cruz, CA

Hello Santa Cruz Community!

I'm Clara E Minor—and my work is all about you. My Specialty is empowering Women to feel great in their bodies, fantastic about their bodies, so they can develop the ability to make their own choices through Self-Defense Classes and Fitness training.

Sharing what I've learned throughout my entire life is an honor. Helping you to find that power in your body creates a strong foundation for all the training. This is the most powerful thing I've learned: the human body is more brilliant than the human mind. And you can get a brilliant body thru self-defense classes.

You'll learn to empower your body by learning skills used for self-defense, in order to make empowered choices, not what is 'rote' or what is already 'programmed' in your body. (Those times when you go 'darn, why didn't I say anything?!!?' ...or...'ugghhh....wish I had been able to tell him off!')

Master Instructor-Trainer at MINORSAN Self-Defense & Fitness

I received my certification to teach the system of LIMALAMA Arts of Self-Defense by Mr. Tino Tuiolosega, Grandmaster and Founder of LimaLama Arts of Self-Defense, in 1988. The name Kemposilama was granted to me many years ago. It differentiated my Studio from the other Black Belts' studios in the community (all had different names).

My teacher, Mr Tino, was a man of 'varying moods.' He was most definitely a challenge (insert crazy-face emoji). Lots of people quit (our group started out with approximately 40 people), simply because they weren't up for the challenge.

At the end of our 12-year stint with him, it had become a team of four students. The four of us worked hard because he wouldn't accept anything less. He challenged us in different ways because he wanted us to be good—not even good, he wanted great.

Why did I stay?

I stuck it out because I wanted to learn the magnificence of what I was experiencing, and to learn it well. Experiencing a strong body was my ultimate goal, while at the same time, earning a Black Belt Degree.

As the only woman in a team of six, and eventually, a team of four, we worked out hard with each other...and sweat...and pounded. We just did it—because Mr Tino ('Pop' to us) wanted nothing less. And he wanted us to succeed.

Mr Tino also wanted to give each of his Instructors our own unique name at each of our schools, hence the name Kemposilama to me (and my former partner).

Since then I have transitioned the name into MANOLAMA (the hand of wisdom). My teacher was Samoan, and in his language, LIMALAMA translated to 'the Hand of Wisdom.'

I'm half Mexican, so I used the Spanish language version 'MANO' 'hand,' to create MANOLAMA, the Hand of Wisdom, Spanish version.

What does this personal info do for you?

This personal information gives you a background of my experience, and gives me a palette to work from when I'm teaching Women. It allows me to help you achieve your most powerful badass body ever, and in the process, to find your happiness and freedom.

The Rest of My Training Background

The following martial arts are in my background: LimaLama (with a heavy dose of American Boxing), Shito-Ryu Karate, American Kenpo, Sil-Lum Kung Fu, Chi-Gung, Wing Chun, and Aikido.

I took classes and trainings in Women's Self-Defense from different groups in the Greater Bay Area, LA, and TX. Several of these were Women's Martial Arts camps put on by P.A.W.M.A (Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists). Cabrillo College offered semester-long classes (16 weeks/3 hours per class), taught by Gail Groves. Weekend workshops were also a part of my training.

Thru all this training, I developed what I teach today. My joy comes from seeing smiling faces, sweaty bodies, and happy people, at the end of every class. I've learned that Self-Defense is one of the most powerful ways to bring out each Woman's BadassCourage.


Conferences, workshops, hands-on seminars, as well as full-contact tournaments (as participant, and as judge), and point tournaments (participant and judge), have all contributed to my 'expertise' in the realm of fighting.

How does this help you?

This all helps me to different body types, and how people move (or don't). I can 'see' where energy is stuck. I get you to 'unstuck' it and THAT feels incredible in your body.

owner teaching self-defense

Other Accomplishments and Achievements

I've directed and produced martial arts and self-defense demos for numerous events in the Santa Cruz/Monterey area.

And I developed and wrote a Self-Defense Manual for Instructors, one for Women, and one for a Children's Anti-Bully Safety Camp (which I used to hold years ago). I don't know everything, but I do know what I'm doing. My experience and training has given me the ability to read people's bodies and know how best to teach them.

How did I train?

Of all my training, the most intense and beneficial self-defense training involved my LimaLama workouts with my instructor, Mr. Tino Tuiolosega. (As I said earlier, my training spanned 12 years, and it was kick-butt training, no joke.) I put in over 26,000 hours with this man, with its emphasis on full-contact fighting. This provided me with the knowledge I needed about how to best teach Women.

Training Partners

My training partners were all male Black Belt level students. This training honestly made me pull up all my inner strength, and use my newfound physical power in order to work with them.

Coupled with the other skills Mr Tino taught me, plus a good dose of spiritual guidance from above and within, I got through each workout with renewed strength and more inner power. It was a true life-changer. Yes, I can help you find your #badass.


My Full Professorship was awarded by Grandmaster Tino Tuiolosega in 1988, and I'm the only female to receive this level of expertise from 'Mr. Tino.'  I've owned a self-defense/fitness studio in Santa Cruz since 1985.

Other Awards

In 2019 I won the Trailblazers Award from the Santa Cruz Women's Commission for my work in the Santa Cruz Community that empowers Women and Girls.

My business has won numerous 'Best of' and 'Goldies' awards over the years for Martial Arts and Kickboxing thru our local dailies, Good Times Santa Cruz, the former Metro Santa Cruz, and Santa Cruz Waves.

Expertise awarded me Best 25 Martial Artists in the greater San Jose area for 2017 and 2018.

I've been honored as Woman of the Week by DiscoverHer.Santa Cruz. Seriously, I'm truly dedicated to empowering Women and Girls, and everyone is welcome. Even a few good Men.

self-defense workshop with owner & student


My Fitness Training

My additional training has been in the following Fitness formats: Fitness Kickboxing (1996), Group Fitness Training (1999), BodyPump® Certifications (2000 & 2005), Pilates Mat Training (2001-2002), Zumba® Fitness Training (2007), and StrongNation (2017).

Creating and developing a Fitness Kickboxing Certification (including manual), has enabled me to certify numerous individuals. They are currently teaching different types of fitness kickboxing classes, from Santa Barbara, to San Francisco, as well as in Santa Cruz.

Individual Programs

In 1988 I developed and created a Women’s Self-Defense Curriculum for day-long, weekend, and extended programs. This evolved into Community Self-Defense, Women's Self-Defense, Youth Workshops, Bully Breakers Workshops, and Specialty Self-Defense Workshops for Groups.

I regularly offer my Self-Defense Strategies & Skills Workshops, as well as my Weekend Workshop Course for Women. The  Anti-Bully Program, 'Bully Breakers' (aptly named for our beautiful coastline in Santa Cruz) was developed to help groups, and schools to combat bullying in our community..

Nutrition Play a Role Too...

Nutrition and food choices have been a conscious part of my life since 1972. Active studies in nutrition began in 1980. I attended my first nutrition classes in San Francisco. I'd run up to the City every weekend, and teach Mcrobiotic Cooking classes (between 1982-1985).

Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz is where I took various classes, focusing on nutrition, health, wellness, weight loss, and human psychology. My current phase of study is thru Precision Nutrition.

With that being said, I'm a self-proclaimed Chocoholic! I also love do to graphic arts, work on my website, love to dance, play outside, ride Harley's, and sail on our Monterey Bay! Traveling is a life-long passion and long road trips are nothing to me—I'll jump on every opportunity. My desire to live a joyous life spills into all my classes.



Clara E Minor Self Defense & Fitness InstructorI'm continually looking to advance all of my skills, personally and professionally. My current program, FighterFit, is constantly evolving as the self-defense method for Women involved in everyday situations, with it’s emphasis on power-generating life skills, massive confidence-boosting, and the building self-esteem, thru physical application of combat skills.

Yes, I teach people to kick-butt, and to do so using their own spiritual guidance in choosing when it's absolutely necessary. Helping Women cultivate their #BadassCourage,™ so they can fight for the life they want and find their freedom, is my motivation.

I'll meet you in class, and help you start your journey to your baddest, most powerful self, ever!

If you're ready to check it all out~ CLICK Button Below