Jim's Books on Amazon
"Here then is a definitive statement of the art of Nihon Goshin Aikido coming directly from one of its most knowledgeable practitioners. I know that it will be an essential resource not only for students of NGA but also for martial artists of any style anywhere in the world."
"Living an integral life means “getting it together” and being “together” rather than being and feeling fragmented. It means thinking, feeling and acting always out of the certainty of your wholeness and never acting out of a sense of disconnection or lack."
Aikido Instruction & Seminars
Is Aikido right for you?
If you are interested in:
A superior and comprehensive method of physical self-defense.
A practice that involves and sharpens both body and mind to work together at peak effectiveness, at work and at play.
A sense of greater confidence, self-discipline, focus, and commitment to excellence in all you do
A means of dealing with interpersonal conflicts of all kinds, in a way that minimizes negativity and maximizes mutually beneficial, profitable outcomes.
Then Aikido is the martial art practice you've been seeking!
Aikido is a modern martial art that originated in Japan and focuses on self-defense skills which incorporate a sense of ethics as well as a superior level of practical effectiveness. The word Aikido comprises 3 separate Japanese words: Ai, or harmony, Ki, or cosmic energy, and Do, or "The Way", as in a "Way of Life". Thus, Aikido literally means "The Way of Life in harmony with Ki". It is an example of what is considered a "soft"-style, as opposed to a "hard"-style, martial art (such as Karate or Taekwondo).
What this means is that, in responding to an attack, a defender does not oppose the force of the attack and counterattack with an equal or greater force.Instead, the defender "yields" to the force of the attack by avoiding its impact, moving to where the attacker's energy is redirected against him, so that the attack is neutralized and the attacker immobilized.
Nihon Goshin Aikido (NGA) is an extensive and comprehensive set of scientific principles which, when mastered, can be transformed by the practitioner into a unique art form creating movements of beauty, grace and devastating power. The skills it teaches are founded in scientific principles of physics, geometry, anatomy and biomechanics. The acquisition of those skills requires a substantial physical, mental and emotional commitment by the student. The principles and techniques of NGA are derived from such forerunner arts as Judo, Jujitsu, Aiki-Jujitsu and Karate. It is an extremely effective system of self-defense, and as such, can potentially inflict serious injury to an attacker.
This video from 1999 is a classic demonstration of Nihon Goshin Aikido. See if you can spot me in this video.
Aikido is, however, a non-aggressive, defensive art that seeks to avoid conflict even in a threatening situation. One of its basic tenets states: "If there is no attack, there is no defense". Even in the execution of self-defense techniques, our strategy is not to resist the attack, but to move in harmony with it. Whatever an attacker gives us, we accept. This "going with the flow" of an attack is termed, in Japanese Taisabaki, or “Blending”.
Proper blending conserves the energy of the defender and facilitates an attacker in defeating himself.This can be critical to victory if an attacker is larger and stronger than you, and is why many women can practice Aikido so effectively, even if they are not particularly strong for their size.Blending is the major reason why Aikido, although considered a "soft" martial art, can still be so powerful and overwhelming in its effects on an attacker. In a self-defense situation, we do not want to engage in a fair fight; we want it to be an unfair fight, but unfair to our advantage. Proper blending creates just such an unfair fight.
Blending is considered an application of the principle of Aiki.The literal translation of Aiki is harmonious energy. It implies the meeting of two or more separate streams of energy where these energies merge without conflict, much as two tributaries merge to form a larger river. Instead of meeting force with force, an Aiki response to an attack meets that force with nonresistance. The effect of an aikido technique on an attacker is no more or less destructive than the original intent of the attack. Ideally, attacking an aikido practitioner is like attacking one's reflection in a mirror. The attacker gets reflected back to him exactly what he put out, like a case of instant karma.
Photo: Michael Sibilia Photography
However, the applications of the principle of Aiki go beyond those of simply responding to a physical confrontation.These principles comprise a very effective strategy for responding to any situation in which there is potential for conflict. By avoiding and deflecting harmful words or actions, one may avoid generating distressing emotions and simultaneously reveal the true issue underlying a conflict so that it may be addressed and resolved in a calmer, more rational and objective manner.
Thus, the application of the principles of aiki to any type of interpersonal conflict or negotiation provides a superior means of creating more "win-win" outcomes. Because when anybody loses, nobody really wins. Achieving a goal at the expense of the anger, resentment and vindictiveness of others leads only to the need to be constantly on guard against acts of vengeance. And that guardedness is a waste of energy that could be much more positively and productively utilized, by everyone concerned.
This being the case,the study of Aikido becomes more than just a physical exercise or a means of self-defense. It imparts a philosophy of living and interacting with others that can significantly improve one's relationships and success at work or play, with family, friends and strangers alike. It is just this spiritual benefit of aikido that has kept me involved in its practice and teaching since 1983, and will hold my interest and devotion for the remainder of my life.
Since 1988, the year I was promoted to the rank of Sho-Dan (First Degree Black Belt) I have been a senior instructor at the Aikido School of Self Defense in Middletown, New York, under the supervision of my instructor, Sensei Robert B. MacEwen, Jr. I also train under the direct supervision of Sheehan Richard A. Bowe, U.S. Director of the Nihon Goshin Aikido Association in Greenberg, New Jersey. I was promoted to the rank of Nim-Dan (Second Degree Black Belt) in 1996, and to the rank of San-Dan (Third Degree Black Belt) in 2003. I am currently the fifth-highest ranking active Upanishad (black belt ranked practitioner) in the Nihon Goshin Aikido Association (NGAA) and the senior author of the forthcoming book Nihon Goshin Aikido: The Art and Science of Self-Defense.
In 2005, I was presented the Samurai Award by the International Federation of Ju-Jitsuans (IFOJJ) and in 2009 I was inducted into the Gold Coast Martial Arts Hall of Fame with a Bronze Life Achievement Award.
I have traveled extensively in the past 10 years, on my own and with my teacher, Sensei Robert B. MacEwen, Jr. (www.aikido-macewen.com), conducting seminars in Nihon Goshin Aikido at other NGAA schools around the country and also at schools of other martial arts styles.
My seminar "Integral Aikido: Ki, Aiki and Taisabaki"
is applicable to martial artists from all styles and teaches the essential elements of Aiki in a clear, scientific, easily understood and learned format. If you are interested in a seminar at any location in the United States or foreign countries, please contact me for more information.