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