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Mission Statement

The Martial Way teaches practical self-defense in contemporary situations and against modern attacks – while fostering physical, mental and emotional development through the core principles of traditional Japanese martial arts.

There are many benefits in joining
The Martial Way

You will learn and enjoy:

years combined teaching experience
Active Black Belts
Over years teaching self defense

Brief History

The South Jersey Aikido Academy (SJAA) was founded in 1998 by Sam Carney.  Sam trained for over 20 years under Robert Danza in the School of Unarmed Self Defense in Collingswood, NJ.  Robert earned his black belt under Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido.  Morihei is the best-known student of Sokaku Takeda who was the headmaster of Daito-ryu Aikijutsu and who made it widely revered in the early 20th century. David Maturo joined SJAA in 1999 and partnered with Sam to transform the dojo to the Martial Way in 2019.

Our goal, your benefit

With the Martial Way, you will learn practical self-defense using the principles of Aikido as the foundation and incorporating the real-world application of Aikijutsu – in a fun, friendly and effective way to help you become more confident and self-assured.

Aikido is a Japanese martial art that uses a person’s weight, energy and momentum – along with takedowns, joint locks and pins – to neutralize the attack, and disarm and control the attacker.

Aikijutsu is also a Japanese martial art and part of the family of jujutsu.  It is a close combat self-defense system and includes strikes, throws, holds, and paralyzing counter attacks against an enemy.

Both of these martial arts use few or no weapons at all and employ defensive or counter-offensive measures to neutralize or subdue one or more opponents.  In comparison with jujutsu, Aikido and Aikijutsu focus more heavily on blending with the opponent and using moving joint-locks and takedowns.  Like many Aikido and Aikijutsu schools, The Martial Way also includes traditional weapons training, primarily focused on the Tanto (knife), Jo Staff and Bokken (wooden sword).

The Martial Way blends Aikido and Aikijutsu based on what is effective and works on the street.  In this way, we are a unique studio which blends martial arts tradition with the practical realities of modern close combat and self-defense.

The Martial Way – brings the best of both worlds.  The flow of Aikido and crash of Aikijutsu.

Aikido (Flow)

  • Balance, defense
  • Flanking, circular, yielding
  • Taking what is given
  • Body movement power
  • Welfare of the opponent
  • Life and spirit development

Aikijutsu (Crash)

  • Power, counter offensive
  • Direct, linear, entering
  • Taking the opportunity
  • Technique, application power
  • Self-defense, martial victory
  • Physical and mental development


  • Blending and connection with the attacker and the attack
  • Use of techniques, holds, atemi and strikes, throws and takedowns

 Flow and Crash – it is The Martial Way

 “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”  Bruce Lee

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See Our Class Schedule

Meet Our Instructors

Aikido and Aikijutsu are living arts which adapt to changing situations and times.  We continually strive to improve the effectiveness of what we train and teach. We keep what works and avoid the rest.  We also learn from other arts and styles, and we incorporate the appropriate lessons into our practice.  We are always learning and growing.

Our Instructors

Sensei Sam Carney
Head Instructor and Co-Owner
Sensei David Maturo
Instructor and Co-Owner, Godan (5th degree)
Sensei Tony Pallante
Weapons Instructor
Rokudan (6th degree)
Sensei Mark Ahlquist
Instructor, Yondan (4th degree)
Sensei Kenyatta Kelly
Instructor, Yondan (4th degree)
Sensei Keith Kruger
Instructor, Yondan (4th degree)
Sensei Joe Diaco
Guest Instructor, Sandan (3rd degree)
Sensei Al Gaudio
Instructor, Nidan (2nd degree)
Sensei Crystal Megill
Kids Instructor, Shodan (1st degree)

Active Black Belts

Sensei Mark Angelo

Active Black Belt, Shodan (1st degree)
Mark started training in Aikido in 1993 and achieved his shodan rank in 1998.  He was the final shodan at the former Collingswood location and followed Sensei Sam to the Mt. Ephraim location as the newest black belt at the time.  Mark’s adoration for the art stems from his love of technique and the ability of the practitioner to harmonize with uke to neutralize an attack and gain control of a situation without the need for excessive force.  Mark fully supports the growth of the Martial Way and enjoys the fellowship of the art along with the welcoming environment of the dojo.

Sensei Marcos Aquino

Active Black Belt, Shodan (1st degree)

Marcos began his martial arts journey during his college years with Tae Kwon Do lessons at a local YMCA in Puerto Rico. But his aiki journey began in Philadelphia in 1990 at the KokiKai dojo in Center City under Ricciotti Sensei. Much like Sensei Sam, Marcos moved to a new neighborhood and found New Jersey School of Aikido where Sam taught and managed the dojo for Robert Danza. Marcos joined in 1993 and continued his studies under Sensei Sam, followed him to South Jersey Aikido Academy when it opened in 1998, and has been there since then under his direction and under the fellowship of many current and retired blackbelts. Marcos believes everyone’s aikido journey is unique. Being associated with this school has enriched his own journey. Marcos shares that learning not just to help oneself, but to help others learn and enjoy their own journeys.  That has been his one of his goals, to be an example of someone who didn’t give up.

Sensei George Cassidy

Active Black Belt, Shodan (1st degree)

George started training in aikido in 2014, looking for a positive change in his life and he found it at our school.  Dedicated to learning and growing, he trained aggressively and achieved his shodan rank October 2019.  George has attributed aikido and the dojo for a wonderful change in his life and he is thankful to all the instructors and fellow students who have made his journey a fun, challenging and exciting one.  He dedicates his training to his mom and Dottie and he is grateful to have had them in his life.  George is a talented electrician who has generously donated his time and skills to literally light up The Martial Way.  He has been an avid student at the South Jersey Aikido Academy and is now a black belt who has embraced The Martial Way.

Sensei Adam Falchetta
Shodan (1st degree)

Sensei Adam was first introduced to aikido in 2004 by his now wife, Richelle. He acquired his Shodan (1st degree black belt) in 2007 Since then he has continued to develop his passion for the art. He is now training to pass his 2nd degree black belt otherwise known as Nidan.

Sensei Joe Farrell

Active Black Belt, Shodan (1st degree)

Joe started Aikido Training in 1990 in Collingswood, NJ and moved to the South Jersey Aikido Academy upon opening. He obtained his shodan in April 2001. “This school fosters a learning experience that never ends. We are all students and continue to teach and learn from each other no matter what our experience level may be. There is a true sense of camaraderie and desire to see all students progress at their own pace. The destination is not as important and the journey.”

It was after earning a black belt in March 1990 in Okinawan Karate at National Karate Studios, Phila, PA that Joe decided to broaden his knowledge into other arts. “Once I began my journey into aikido, I felt that it was a better fit for my goal of life-long learning. I feel that karate taught me how to fight but aikido taught me how to defend myself.”

Sensei Joe feels fortunate to have trained under some truly great senseis and believes it is his obligation to pass some of that experience on where he can.

Sensei Pawel Kaczmarski

Active Black Belt, Shodan (1st degree)

After coming to the United States in the early 1990s, Pawel was introduced to aikido. He has trained in both Kokikai and Iwama styles of aikido and has been shodan (1st degree) since 2015. Since the late 2000s, he has been training at the South Jersey Aikido Academy.

Pawel’s martial arts training started in Poland 1985 with the art of Kyokushni Karate.

Sensei Matt Megill

Active Black Belt, Shodan (1st degree)

As one of the school’s newer black belts, Matt began his training with the South Jersey Aikido Academy under Sensei Sam Carney in 2012. Matt originally joined the school in order to get his two daughters involved in a self defense system that does not rely on strength and speed; however he developed his own passion for the art and is highly involved in the school. In March 2017, Matt made his Shodan Rank and has continued on working closely with many of the schools instructors in order to further hone his knowledge and capabilities with particular interest in practical application and the martial aspect of aikido.
In addition to aikido, Matt was privileged to study Bagua for a couple of years under Master William Ting.