Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sensei Carter's 2011 Year End Message - What a Year!

This past year has been one the most positive, prosperous and inspiring years for me both personally and professionally.  Of course the birth of our third son this past August has brought happiness and excitement to our home and family.  I would not be where I am today without the loving support of my wife and our three boys.  Family truly comes first!

I finalized my Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Certification this year resulting in our academy becoming a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Center.  It was a lot of work, sacrifice and dedication, but it was well worth it.  Additionally, our Nihon Goshin Aikido classes have been well attended and all our self-defense programs were well received and supported by our current and new academy members. 

Our after-school programs have done fantastic.  We have 4 sites in the Lexington and Irmo area and all are thriving.  I want to thank each site coordinator for their support and effort in making these programs so successful.  I also was honored to participate in a very important Anti-Bullying Rally in Columbia this year.  It was held at a local high school and I was asked to introduce Parents, Teachers, Administrators and Youth of all ages to our vitally important Self-Defense programs.  We look forward to working with the event coordinator again in 2012 and many years to come!

Our student body enjoyed great retention and growth in 2011.  We reached a record number of students and look forward to even more student growth in 2012.  We have worked hard since January 1997 to attract and maintain the best students possible.  This is vital in producing an unique, top notch learning environment.  I am confident that our student body is one of the best around.  I want to thank all my students and senior students for making this possible.

I want to wish everyone and your family a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

See you on the mats in 2012!

Sensei John Carter

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Academy Closings

We will be closed Monday, December 19th through Sunday, January 1st.  We will hold an Open Mat from 7:00pm to 9:00pm on Wednesday, December 21st and Wednesday, December 28th for Academy Students.  Remember, Wednesday nights are "Bring a Friend" night, so feel free to bring someone with you.

Have a safe and Happy Holiday Season!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sensei Carter

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Youth Class Time

New Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Class for Youth ages 8 to 12 on Saturday mornings 9:00am to 10:00am.  Please take a moment and read the class description below.


"Every day 160,000 children miss school out of fear or intimidation of a bully."

-National Education Association

Jr. Grappler's (Ages 8 to 12)

Since bullying is most prevalent in this age group, we teach the children in the Jr. Grappler's class the techniques they must know in order to defend themselves if attacked. The best part about the techniques is that they are all non-violent control tactics designed to minimize injury to the bully if used during a real fight. What makes the GRACIE BULLYPROOF program unique is that we develop your child's character as well as their confidence. During each class, we dedicate a few minutes to discussing a featured character trait and the simple things your child can do to make it part of their everyday lives.

We also offer classes every Monday and Wednesday at 5:00!  Please stop by for a tour of our academy or a free class trial.

Sensei John Carter

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Anti-Bullying Rally

Benjamin and I taught 50 to 60 people today at an Anti-Bullying Rally.  We taught very simple verbal and physical self-defense techniques that could literally save your life.  Our group consisted of Elementary - Middle - High School Youth, Teachers, Parents and Administrators.  We had a great group and look forward to attending next year's event.  The highlight of the day was when a threw a 310 pound football player off of me with zero event.  It got everyone's undivided attention.  I had a room full of believer's after that!  It was a great event.  It is an important topic.

Sensei John Carter

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thanksgiving Closings

We will be closed Wednesday November, 23rd through Saturday, November 26th.  Please enjoy and have a safe Thanksgiving Weekend.  We will resume our normal Nihon Goshin Aikido and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu classes on Monday, November 28th.

Thank you.

Sensei John Carter

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Seminar with Professor Pedro Valente

Me and Professor Pedro Valente - September, 2011
I recently attended yet another great seminar with Professor Pedro Valente in Columbia, South Carolina.  Valente Brothers Black Belt, Jack Walker, hosted Pedro over the weekend.  My son Benjamin was able to attend the Little Champs class on Saturday.  Pedro's session emphasis was on anti-bullying techniques.  He also taught the triangle choke using a great (and funny) story to help the kids remember the steps of the move. 

The adult session was held on Sunday from 11:00 to 2:00.  Professor Valente began the training with fundamental Gracie Jiu-Jitsu self-defense strategy and philosophy.  He then went on to discuss stand-up technique and appropriate levels of use of force when defending oneself.  He showed a very nice standing technique to control the center space followed up by a standing submission once the aggressor insists on continuing forward.  He also showed a variation that would apply to a potential multiple attacker situation.  The ground techniques consisted of control and striking positions from the guard and the kimura from the standard omoplata (shoulder lock) position.

The highlight of the day was at the end of the seminar when Pedro discussed more Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Philosophy.  He talked to us about his "7", "5", "3" way of life.  Coming from a Traditional Japanese Martial Art Background such as Nihon Goshin Aikido, many of these topics were a refreshing review for me as I have discussed these topics often with my Nihon Goshin Aikido Sensei, colleagues and students.  I have included the philosophies below.

7 - Tenets of Bushido
Rectitude (義, gi)
Courage (勇, yū)
Benevolence (仁, jin)
Respect (礼, rei)
Honesty (誠, makoto)
Honor (名誉, meiyo)
Loyalty (忠義, chūgi)

5 - Way of Life
Positive Outlook

3 - Warrior Mindset
Zanshin - Remaining Mind
Mushin - Clear Mind
Fudoshin - Immovable Mind

Thanks again to Professor Pedro Valente for instructing us over the weekend.  I look forward to training with him again soon.

For more information about our Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Nihon Goshin Aikido and Youth Anti-Bullying programs, please feel free to come by our academy to watch a class or try one out for free.  We can be contacted direct at 803.546.6079, or at

My son Benjamin and Professor Pedro Valente

Triangle Choke and Pedro's "Story" to help kids remember each step.

Great Training.  Congratulations to those who were promoted!

Me and Pedro after the seminar.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Carter's Academy of Self-Defense Updates: Certified Nihon Goshin Aikido and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Center

We have enjoyed a very busy Fall and look forward to continuing our growth as one of the best martial arts schools in the Columbia, SC area.  Our programs are extremely popular with our new and current students. 

Our 4-week intro has been a big hit with many of our new students.  The most successful piece of this program, is it allows them to easily transition into our Nihon Goshin Aikido and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu curriculum. 

Since I finalized my instructor certification in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, the Jiu-Jitsu Combatives classes have been well attended. In addition, our Nihon Goshin Aikido classes have been averaging 18 to 20 students per class. Needless to say, I have been extremely busy with my teaching duties and loving every minute of it. We have a first class student body!

Now that school is back in session, the Youth Aikido and Youth Jiu-Jitsu classes have enjoyed very good and very steady attendance.  Also, my after-school programs in the public schools and after-school centers are filling up quickly and my private classes are also steady. 

Please be on the look out for our new upcoming Pee Wee program for 3 to 4 year olds. It will be a 30-minute class consisting of a balance of martial arts, agility skills, tumbling and play.  Early 2012 will be our target start date.

Lastly, our "Bring a Friend" classes have provided students with a great opportunity to share their hobby and passion with friends or family.

We will be revamping our testing routine at the academy.  As the academy grows to records student levels, this will be a much needed improvement. More details will be forthcoming.

Students who need a new uniform or would like to order academy t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, backpacks, etc. please see me or go to our online store at  Any student who is interested in ordering Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy fight gear, uniforms, gi patches, car decals, etc. also see me.  I will be making an order every few weeks and you will be able to save the sales tax and shipping cost.

We will be updating many of our signs, logos, website and facebook page and other marketing information.  Please be on the lookout.  We are excited about the fresh look and feel of our academy and martial art programs.

I want to thank all our students for the great attendance, positive energy while training and assistant instructor support.  I look forward to great fall and 2012.

Sensei Carter

Friday, August 26, 2011

As Real As It Gets: Bullying Victims Can Fight Back With Help From Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Royalty

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 Written by: Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports

UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro this weekend will rightly include homage to the iconic Gracie family, creators of Brazilian jiu-jitsu nearly 100 years ago, creators of the Ultimate Fighting Championship nearly 20 years ago, creators of legendary family fighting figures and jiu-jitsu instructors that span the globe.

But the Gracies' most positive impact might be felt at a middle school in a Denver suburb where a seventh grader is unafraid of bullies for the first time since he can remember.

Martin Hendricks, 12, spent a week this summer at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, Calif., in an intensive program designed to make him "Bullyproof." He learned as many jiu-jitsu self-defense techniques as a kid can absorb in five days, he memorized a blueprint for dealing with a bully fairly and squarely, and he gained self-confidence. The first week of school he put the lessons into practice.

"I'm still a little nervous but it all went well," Hendricks said quietly in a phone call to Rener Gracie, his personal instructor at the academy. "He'll never bother me again. Let me tell you about it."

It's back-to-school time all over the country. For kids that get picked on, it's a return to a horror zone. Experts say that more than 150,000 children miss school every day because they are afraid of being bullied. More than half of all schoolchildren have witnessed a bullying incident and three of every four students say bullying is a problem at their school.

The bulk of bullying occurs from the fourth through the eighth grades, although it can continue through high school and even in the workplace. Bullying is intimidation or domination toward someone perceived as weaker, a way to establish superiority through coercion or force. The emotional scars are often worse than the physical beatings, and victims of bullying often become depressed and do poorly in school. Bullying can even lead to suicide.

Rener Gracie, 27-year-old son of UFC originator Rorion Gracie and grandson of legendary Brazilian jiu-jitsu grandmaster Helio Gracie, knows all the statistics. He recognized that the martial art perfected by three generations of his uncles and cousins is ideal for combating bullies. So he and his brother Ryron developed a program specifically for youngsters who have been the target of taunts and shoves, kicks and punches.

Jiu-jitsu is a strategic, relatively nonviolent method of self-defense. It utilizes leverage, locks and holds that can neutralize a bigger, stronger opponent when both combatants are off their feet and grappling in close quarters. Combined with a clear understanding of the appropriate rules of engagement in a school setting, knowing the basics of jiu-jitsu can give a child the necessary tools to combat a bully.

"The program is engaging, it's fun and it will ensure that your son or daughter doesn't have to go through life at the mercy of tormenting bullies," Rener said.

Martin Hendricks was so timid when he arrived in Torrance last month with his mother and sister that he wouldn't speak to anyone at the Gracie Academy. Rener knew his background from speaking to his mother: Martin had been bullied for many years by many kids and had simply taken it.

"His grades suffered and he would never stick up for himself," said his mother, Wendy. "He's a nice, gentle soul kind of kid and now he didn't even want to go to school.

"Bullying is an epidemic. It's horrible and schools sweep it under the carpet. It breaks my heart."

She called Rener and decided to take her son to California. "I finally felt like I found somebody who gets this," she said.

In addition to attending daily three-hour group classes, Martin was given private jiu-jitsu instruction by Rener each evening for a week. Then there was the mental training. Rener helped Martin understand that his fear of a bully hurting him was sensible. So was his fear of retaliating when he had no fighting skills.

Rener asked him: "If we can eliminate the fear of injury through technique and preparation, would it make sense to stand up to the bully?"

"Yes," Martin replied.

"Let's do it."

It took until Thursday for Martin to convincingly respond to a taunt by walking up to the instructor posing as a bully and saying with conviction, "Don't ever do that again."

•The complete Gracie Bullyproof program is taught at select Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Centers around the world. For more information, go to

Rener taught Martin the three T-steps: TALK to the bully and ask him to leave you alone. TELL the teacher and your parent that the bully won't stop even after you've talked to him. TACKLE the bully and use jiu-jitsu to gain control of him without resorting to punches or kicks.

"If you draw that line with your words and the bully respects it, the case is closed without a physical altercation," Rener told Martin. "But if you draw that line and they slap you, kick you, cross that line again, you don't think twice. You take both of your hands and push him as hard as you can in the chest. You blast him. Knock him off his feet.

"Then take control using jiu-jitsu and tell him you will let him go if he promises not to bother you any longer. If he won't say it, wait until a teacher or another adult shows up before letting him up."

Martin nodded. Rener had given him a plan and taught him enough jiu-jitsu techniques to take control of a bully. Still, Martin wondered, would he be able to execute the plan when he returned to Colorado and started school the following week?

Many schools across the U.S. have a "zero tolerance" policy regarding bullying and on-campus fights of every sort, suspending any student involved because often it is difficult to assign blame. The Gracies support zero tolerance but point out that the policy doesn't work well in deterring verbal abuse -- the most common form of bullying.

"That's why it is so important for a child being bullied to first ask the bully to stop the abuse, hopefully in a confident manner, then to inform a teacher or principal and their parent if the bullying persists," Rener said.

Sometimes, Rener said, the behavior will end there because a school administrator will contact the parent of the bully and the issue will be addressed at home. But bullies can be conniving, and after a short respite the abuse can start again when no adults are present.

That's when it's time for the victim to consider using jiu-jitsu, zero tolerance or no zero tolerance. And it's why teaching jiu-jitsu self-defense and submission techniques separates the Gracie program from others that also emphasize verbal negotiations with bullies.

"It's a lot easier to get a bully to promise he won't bother you any more if you are on top of him pinning him down against his will," Rener said.

The most injurious jiu-jitsu techniques aren't taught to kids. No chokes. Nothing that could render an opponent unconscious. It's a far different curriculum than the one that leads to advanced belts for adults, and it's far different from the Women Empowered program designed to help females fight off would-be rapists.

That isn't to say the Bullyproof techniques can't be devastating in submitting a foe. The 33 junior combative lessons required for a student to pass the course -- at the Gracie Academy or online -- include some of the same moves MMA stars Anderson Silva, Forrest Griffin and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will employ at UFC 134 on Saturday.

Four days into the school year and Martin was getting bullied again. He'd asked the bigger, stronger boy to stop calling him names and throwing a water bottle at him. But the abuse continued.

Rener called and delivered a pep talk. "Martin, would you rather fight one time and be protected for the rest of your life, or do you want to get bullied for the rest of your life?"

Martin sighed. "I'd rather fight once."

"Do it, my friend," Rener said. "The bully still thinks he owns you. Tomorrow he will do the same thing. And when he does, you will engage. You don't ask permission, you don't stop, you just engage."

The next day the bully not only bothered Martin, but he pestered Martin's friend so much that the boy shook his head and said he might commit suicide. The bully then asked Martin if he could practice some new punching techniques on him, and hit him. Then he threw a water bottle at him.

Everything Martin had learned during his week at the Gracie Academy bubbled to the surface. He jumped off the lunch bench and while in midair pushed the bully in the chest with both hands as hard as he could. Both boys landed on the ground and Martin pinned the bully by placing his knee on his chest and holding his arms down with his own.

It was a classic jiu-jitsu combination -- decisive and effective without causing trauma or blood.

The bully was shocked and as he struggled in vain to get up he yelled that Martin was crazy. The bully's friends told Martin to get up, but as he told the principal later: "I chose not to."

The principal took both boys into his office and called Wendy.

"I was absolutely thrilled," she said. "The school, of course, thought I was nuts. But I explained that this was a long time coming for Martin. He's still that kind kid. He stuck up for himself and for his friend.

On Monday the principal called Martin into the office and let him know he wasn't in trouble. Fighting was not tolerated, he was told, but in this instance the response was appropriate. Neither Martin nor his mother told the school about his jiu-jitsu training.

The bully sought out Martin at lunch and apologized in front of other kids. Word got around the school. No longer is Martin the target of bullying -- from anybody.

Martin had one more piece of business. He called Rener to thank him.

"I couldn't have been more jazzed," Rener said. "He went through the entire cycle of standing up for himself verbally first, then physically, but not violently. He kept it humble, and allowed the bully to save face.

"No punches. No kicks. He just held him with Gracie jiu-jitsu. It's the gentle way."

For more information about this and other martial art programs available at our academy, visit us at, or contact us today to set up a tour of our school.  We can be contacted directly at 803.546.6079 or

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu ICP Class of 2011

On July 29-30, 2011, over 60 instructors from the United States, Uruguay, Singapore, and Russia participated in the Instructor Certification Program (ICP) live evaluation at  Gracie Academy headquarters. To qualify to attend, we all had to go through several phases of preparation, including:

1) Master the Gracie Combatives techniques
2) Learn the Gracie Bullyproof program
3) Learn all the Gracie Teaching Methodologies
4) Send in five Teaching Proficiency Videos to qualify to attend the live evaluation

Upon completing the live evaluation, we were certified by the Gracie Instructors to teach Gracie Combatives and Gracie Bullyproof in our communities.

Call or email us for information on class times or more program information.

Sensei John Carter

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Center - Lexington, SC

It's official.  My academy is a Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training Center.  I successfully completed the Instructor Certification Program this past weekend and am now authorized by Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Headquarter's to offer Gracie Combatives and Gracie Bullyproof curriculum at my school.  I appreciate the confidence of the Gracie's to represent GJJ and I want to thank the Gracie Family (Rorian, Ryron, Rener and Ralek) for being my instructors in this program.  I also am very appreciative to Jack Walker (Valente Brother's Black-Belt) for spending so many hours teaching me Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  I look forward to continuing to train with Jack.  Our current Gracie Jiu-Jitsu schedule is as follows (Our Nihon Goshin Aikido schedule will remain unchanged)

Monday and Wednesday:
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (Bullyproof)   5:00 to 5:55
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (Combatives) 8:00 to 9:00

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (Bullyproof)   10:00 to 10:55
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (Combatives) 12:00 to 1:00

It is important for current and future academy members to note that we will continue to offer top quality instruction in Nihon Goshin Aikido and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  Our program will consists of Three Tracks.

1. Nihon Goshin Aikido - Only
2. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu - Only
3. Both Arts - Unlimited

Anyone is welcome to try any class on our schedule for free (Nihon Goshin Aikido or Gracie Jiu-Jitsu).  Just call or email me a day or two before your intended class and I'll set it up.   We also will be introducing "Bring a Friend" Class on Wednesdays and Saturdays.   Any friend, neighbor, co-worker, family member, etc. can attend class along with any active member for free.  See me for details.

See you on the mats.

Sensei Carter

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Partnership Location in Irmo, SC

We are proud to announce our newest partnership location and martial arts program in Irmo, SC.  Lake Murray Afterschool Academy will be opening this fall and we will be conducting our Aikido and Bullysafe programs at their facility.  Classes will begin Friday, September 9th at 4:00.  We will be offering a free introductory class for all the kids and look forward to working with the owner, Tara Gaskins.  For more information about both programs, please visit our websites. or

We will continue to offer youth classes at our existing partnership locations at Columbia Self-Defense and at New Heights School.

Enjoy the summer!

Sensei Carter

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Classes Resume Monday July, 11th

We are completing our summer break and all classes will resume Monday, July 11th with Junior Jiu-Jitsu at 5:00, Junior Aikido at 6:00, Adult Aikido at 7:00 and Adult Jiu-Jitsu at 8:00. 

I look forward to seeing everyone back on the mats.

Sensei Carter

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Youth Combatives Camp

We just completed our summer 2011 combatives camp.  The kids and instructors all had a great time.  Some of the activities during the camp included, "Bully Battles", Jiu-Jitsu Training, Japanese Calligraphy,  Bullysafe and Stranger Awareness Discussions, Sensei Carter's Famous "Circle of Pain", an action packed grappling tournament, and good ole' fashion dodge ball.  Needless to say we had a blast.  We introduced "animal movement" this summer, where kids would move up and down the length of the mats mimicking various animals.  My personal favorite was the gorilla run.  I think the kids liked watching me and my assistants demonstrating the different movements.  Especially the duck walk and kangaroo hop.  Another highlight of the week was a new activity called "Battle Sticks".  This is where each kid got to take me on and battle it out with pugil sticks (the two ended staff).  Of course the two ends are padded foam and the kids all wore protective gear.  They certainly got in some nice shots. 

I want to thank Matthew Palmer (Sienna's Dad) for coming by on Wednesday to teach as about Japanese culture.  Everyone loved learning how to write in Japanese.  Stay tuned for our Japanese Culture Night at the dojo where we will learn more about the Japanese traditions, make sushi, and have other activities.

We topped the camp off with the grappling tournament on the last day.  The kids were excited all week for this event.  We learned valuable ground-defense skills throughout the week that were put to the test during our tournament.  All the kids showed, poise, character and good sportsmanship.  It was very exciting to watch, coach and referee this activity.  All the kids performed exceptionally well and appreciated the medals they earned.  I was a very proud Sensei after all was said and done.

I want to thank all the kids and instructors for attending our camp and I look forward to seeing everyone next year!

Japanese Story Time

Fun with Jiu-Jitsu

Top Control
Proud Calligraphers

Bullysafe Lesson

Sensei making his point

All smiles


Competitive Spirit

Japanese Calligraphy
Tournament Medals

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ryron Gracie Seminar: Lexington, South Carolina - Saturday, June 18th, 2011

We just completed an outstanding seminar with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Instructor, Ryron Gracie.  We had 30 people in attendance and covered great GJJ techniques including the clinch, leg hook takedown, mount control and guard strategies.  Ryron also discussed general Gracie Jiu-Jitsu training philosophy and strategy.  It was an honor to have him at my academy for his first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu seminar in South Carolina.  All the students enjoyed themselves.  In fact, I received numerous calls and emails soon after the seminar from attendees telling me how much they appreciated the opportunity to train and learn from Ryron Gracie.  I've included one such email below:

Mr. Carter,
I just wanted to thank you again for hosting such an awesome class. It was by far one of the best Father's Day presents I received this year. You and your students were very hospitable and professional. Ryron was amazing, I never thought I would be able to actually meet him let alone take a class from him. Again, thanks for bringing him here and making your facility available to not only your students but anyone (including myself) who was not associated with your school. Again, I was very impressed by the quality of instruction and professionalism I observed yesterday. For someone who has been in and out of martial arts for the past several years, I can honestly say that you and your school should be the standard others strive for. If everything works out, I would love the opportunity to train with you guys in the future.

Thanks and stay safe,

Scott Franklin

I look forward to having Ryron and the other Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Instructors out to my academy in Lexington, South Carolina for seminars in the near future.  In fact, I will be traveling to the Headquarters Academy in Torrance California, next month to participate in the 2-Day final evaluation of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Certification Course.  When I return on Monday, August 1st, I will be rolling out the formal Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Adult and Youth Programs at my academy.  We will continue to offer top notch instruction in the art of Nihon Goshin Aikido and all our scheduled Aikido classes will remain unchanged.  I have been committed to the art of Nihon Goshin Aikido for 25 years and will continue to expand my personal knowledge, skills and teaching abilities in this art.  We are simply adding a new dimension to our offerings, services and curriculum at our academy.  I am proud to be a practitioner of Nihon Goshin Aikido and Gracie Jiu-Jisu.

Me and Ryron Gracie.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Summer Hours

5:00 to 5:55 Junior Jiu-Jitsu
6:00 to 6:55 Youth Aikido (ages 8 to 12)
7:00 to 8:00 Advanced Aikido
8:00 to 9:00 Adult Jiu-Jitsu

5:45 to 6:30 Youth Aikido (ages 5 to 7)
6:30 to 7:25 Youth Aikido (ages 8 to 12)
7:30 to 8:30 Adult Aikido (ages 13+)
8:00 to 9:00 Irmo Aikido (ages 13+)

5:00 to 5:55 Junior Jiu-Jitsu
6:00 to 6:55 Youth Aikido (ages 8 to 12)
7:00 to 8:00 Adult Aikido (ages 13+)
8:00 to 9:00 Adult Jiu-Jitsu

5:00 to 5:45 Youth Aikido (ages 5 to 7)
5:45 to 6:30 Youth Aikido (ages 5 to 7)
6:30 to 7:25 Youth Aikido (ages 8 to 12)
7:30 to 8:30 Adult Aikido (ages 13+)

6:00 to 6:55 Irmo Youth Aikido (ages 5 to 12)

10:00 to 10:55 Youth Aikido (all ages)
11:00 to 12:00 Adult Aikido (ages 13+)
12:00 to 1:00 Adult Jiu-Jitsu

Monday, May 16, 2011

Important Academy Announcements

Our June 20th Youth Combatives Summer Camp is full! We'll see everyone Monday, June 20th at 9:00am.

We have TEN spaces left in our June 18th Gracie Jiu-Jitsu seminar! (ages 14 and up)

Sensei Carter

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ryron Gracie Seminar June 18th, 2011

I am pleased to announce that Ryron Gracie will be at our Lexington Academy to conduct a 2-hour seminar. The focus of the seminar will be Gracie Combatives and the training will run from 1:30 to 3:30. As of today, we have filled 30 spots and have only 10 spots remaining. The cost of the seminar is $60 members/GU members and $75 regular. Contact me at 803.546.6079 or at to register.

USC Women's Self-Defense Course (Phi Mu Sorority)

Sensei Carter just finished another women's self-defense course at The University of South Carolina. we had 150 girls attend the course. All the participants had a great time and our staff was very helpful. I have included part of a thank-you note we received from one of the organizers. "Thank you and your team so much for coming out! I know I learned a lot and I know all the other girls did too! It was very useful! We will most certainly contact you again in the future for another course!" Thanks again! Katie Kowalski Phi Mu Sorority

Sunday, February 6, 2011

7th-Degree Aikido Black Belt Credited for UFC 126 Win

"In one of the biggest fights of his illustrious career, UFC middleweight Anderson Silva dug deep into his bag of tricks and unleashed the most devastating front kick in MMA history. On the wrong end of the highlight-reel strike was Vitor Belfort's face, and it appears he can thank Steven Seagal for it.

The actor who starred in martial arts classics like "Above the Law", "Under Siege" and "Out for Justice", is the man responsible for schooling "The Spider" in the art of the front kick.

"Steven Seagal helped me perfect that kick. That was a kick we were working on before." Silva said at the UFC 126 post-fight press conference.

Seagal is currently a 7th degree black-belt and Shihan in Aikido. The 58-year-old moved to Japan in his late teens and became the first foreigner to operate an Aikido dojo in Japan."

*article taken from

See you on the mats!

Sensei John Carter

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ryron Gracie Seminar Review

I recently returned from a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Seminar in Conyers, Georgia. It is a 3 hour drive from Columbia, SC and well worth the time and money spent. We went over some basic arm bar and triangle defenses, some details on how to get, improve and recover arm bars from the guard, a nice arm bar setup from mount and general training advice, philosophies and strategies. The learning environment was great. The hosting academy was professionally run and my training partner for the evening was easy and helpful to work with. Ryron was very personable, full of energy and eager to assist. There were about 20 participants, so we got alot of one on one attention. In fact, throughout the course of the seminar, I was able to work on almost every move with Ryron personally. I would definitely recommend attending a Ryron Gracie seminar if at all possible and I look forward to training again with Ryron soon.

See you on the mats!

Sensei John Carter

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Academy Tour

Our 3000 square foot academy consists of a main lobby and waiting room, observation areas, two training floors, separate Men, Women and Youth dressing rooms and restrooms and a business office.

Our programs consist of a self-defense curriculum that instructs students in all areas of hand-to hand combat. Namely stand-up self-defense, ground-defense, multiple attackers, weapons, anti-bullying strategies, stranger awareness and assault prevention.

Our instructor staff consists of well-rounded, experienced, professional and safety conscience teachers. Our student body is made up of Men, Women and Children from all walks of life.

Please take a moment to stop by our academy to observe a class, log on to our website to learn more about our programs or give us a call to talk to our friendly and knowledgeable staff.

We look foward to seeing you on the mats!

Sensei Carter

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nihon Goshin Aikido & Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

The following quote about Nihon Goshin Aikido captures my opinion on Nihon Goshin Aikido and how it can (and should) relate to other martial arts.

"Nihon Goshin Aikido does not compartmentalize component parts, but unifies opposites into oneness."

Nihon Goshin Aikido, when founded, contained elements of all of Master Morita's Martial Arts knowledge. Which included Aikido, Judo, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Karate. Additional to the standard Aikido techniques, our curriculum contains throws and chokes from Judo (but none of the ground-work), joint-locks from Jiu-Jitsu and basic strikes from Karate. What was not included by Master Morita was the ground-work from Judo or Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. At the time of NGA's founding (circa 1940's), I doubt Master Morita, like most of the world, had seen or heard of GJJ/BJJ or the Gracie Family. Due to the effectiveness and logical ground strategy of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, my opinion is that it fits perfectly alongside the overall martial strategy of Nihon Goshin Aikido.

I was introduced to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in the Fall of 1997 in the Tampa, Florida area. Due to the limited amount of instruction in Gracie or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the Columbia, SC area, I did not regularly train in GJJ until December of 2007. Since then, I have continued my training in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under Jack Walker and Professor Pedro Valente of Gracie Miami and the Gracie Family from Torrance, California. All this training ultimately resulted in me becoming a Level 1 Certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor and my academy becoming a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Certified Training Center.  The Gracie "style" of Jiu-Jitsu is non-sport and non-competitive. It is a perfect fit for what my opinion of a martial artist should be. One who can defend themselves in each category of hand to hand combat. Before I obtained basic understanding and skills in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, I had an average response for a ground attack scenario. Now I have a first-rate strategy.

This is why I give all my Aikido students the opportunity to train in our GJJ classes. In fact, all of my advanced Aikido students are required to attend the Gracie Combatives classes.  It is my recommendation to all Aikido practitioners, especially Nihon Goshin Aikido practitioners, to learn Gracie Combatives at a minimum.  My goal is to be the most well-rounded martial artist and to provide my students and my family with the most practical methods of self-defense. 

Sensei John Carter

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Congratulations to our Newest Black-Belt

On behalf of The Aikido Academy of Self-Defense, LLC. and the Art of Nihon Goshin Aikido, I would like to congratulate Ron Ruszczyk for achieving the rank of Sho-Dan (First Degree Black-Belt).

Over the last couple of months, Ron completed a series of tests including, basic NGA techniques, street-applications, blocks and strikes, and free-style self-defense. Alongside the physical tests, our students complete verbal and written exams on Japanese Vocabulary, Nihon Goshin Aikido History and Philosophy, Basic First Aid, and Association Policy and Procedures. Students must submit four short essays on topics such as Honor and Loyalty. Lastly, Black-Belt candidates must show basic proficiency in teaching the art of Nihon Goshin Aikido as well as upholding high standards in their personal conduct.

Great job Ron!

Sensei Carter

Comparison between Traditional Aiki and Modern Aiki

Many potential students ask me what the difference is between Karate/Tae Kwon Do and Aikido. That is a fairly straight forward answer. What I would like to discuss here is the difference between Traditional Aiki (Nihon Goshin Aikido) and Modern Aiki (Aikido). Below I have included a list comparing the two.

Traditional Aiki (Nihon Goshin Aikido)

1. Use of small, quick circles

2. Street Specific Attacks

3. Techniques are used to end the fight. Control is determined by what the attacker does or does not do.

4. Pressure Points, Pain Compliance, Submissions, Standing and Ground Grappling, Strikes, and Throws are frequent.

5. Discipline, harmony and camaraderie are emphasized with respect for tradition.

Modern Aiki (Aikido)

1. Large, fluid circles

2. Less use of street likely attacks

3. Techniques are used to neutralize the attacker without injury

4. Strikes used to a lessor degree, little to no ground grappling

5. Peace, harmony, camaraderie and aiki principles are emphasized

Keep in mind, these are general descriptions based on my personal experience in Nihon Goshin Aikido and various other systems of Aikido. All are good and all represent true budo. However, the individual sensei, national leadership, or organization guidelines may vary the way in which training is held at local, regional, national or international academies.

Sensei John Carter