We are self-defense specialists! Schools of Aikido vary widely in orientation. At SJAA we focus on practical self-defense. We believe that Aikido is a living art so we continually strive to improve the effectiveness of what we teach. What works, we keep; what doesn't we drop.
Since 2000, Daddis Fight Camps has equipped thousands of students with the tools to be more confident and more effective in self-defense scenarios. Helmed by founder Brad Daddis, the Philadelphia- and New Jersey-based operation works with individuals all ages, genders, and athletic abilities. An assorted selection of programs speaks to that diversity, and includes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai Boxing, and even a Tactical Urban Defense course. In that, students learn practical self-defense techniques, specifically those in close quarters combat they can use against a mugger or particularly tight blood-pressure cuff.
Urban Defense Center founder Master Lawrence Whitaker developed his studio’s signature self-defense program to arm students with practical-minded moves that prepare them for dangerous street situations. Students learn to spar, take down an opponent, defend against weapons, and escape from the shadow of a suspicious-looking skyscraper. Students also train their gray matter, pre-empting potential legal repercussions for defending themselves by studying concepts such as reasonable grounds and probable cause. Alternatively, Tai-Fit sessions shuttle through a series of punches, knees, blocks, and kicks with the goal not of emulating a fight but of torching calories instead. Fighters can pursue either track with a personal trainer who pays closer attention to form and technique than a beauty contestant does during the Simon Says portion of the pageant.
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At Premier Martial Arts, students of all backgrounds train in self-defense, combat sports, and martial-arts-based fitness. Kids ages 3–12 earn colorful belts to mark not only their mastery of martial arts techniques, but also their demonstrations of character. Teachers also provide belt-free training for adults in arts like Krav Maga—developed for the Israeli Defense Force—and kickboxing, which incorporates both Western boxing techniques and the knee and elbow strikes of Muay Thai, the official fighting form of Thailand’s postmen. To supplement each fighter’s striking game, the instructors offer classes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which uses throws and takedowns to bring fights down to the ground, where joint locks and choke holds can be applied to great effect. They round out the combat curriculum with the weapon techniques of Kali, a lightning-fast form of stick and blade fighting that hails from the Phillipines.
This blended training methodology arms students for self-defense as well as kickstarts careers in professional fighting. Elite affiliates include such UFC names as Kurt Pellegrion and Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro.