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Why Do YOU Want to Start Martial Arts?

“I want to learn to defend myself!”

“I want to get in shape!”

“I want to improve my mental focus!”

Japanese Martial Arts

Get Started Today!

Fitness • Focus • Self-Defense

(734) 720-0330


Martial Arts Ann Arbor

The Right Fit: Among the Best Martial Arts Ann Arbor Has to Offer

Whether you're a seasoned martial artist or someone who's never been involved in martial arts, Ann Arbor provides many choices that are of high quality and integrity. It can be difficult to choose which program to start with when there's such a variety. Some questions that you might ask when picking a program are:

“Will I be taught practical self-defense?”

“Can I use these techniques in the real world?”

“Are the instructors up to par with the principles they teach?”

“Do I have to be physically fit already? Will I become physically fit with this program?”

“Is the place safe and clean?”

“Of all the different martial arts Ann Arbor affords, why choose this one?”

You’ve heard the horror stories of people being taught half-baked techniques from McDojos. You don’t want a martial arts academy that drains your wallet and keeps you there with premature belt promotions. If practicing a martial art is anything like dating, finding the right place can make all the difference! If it’s a bad fit, you find yourself miserable and poorer than where you started - you just want to find the right fit.

If your first concern were self-defense, would it help you to know that at the Japanese Martial Arts Center a female in the Judo program successfully fended off an attacker with techniques that she learned at the dojo? You also get a chance to train with several instructors that have specially tailored seminars geared towards self-defense. At the end of the day, you want to leave with the proper skills to protect yourself.

The benefit of finding the right dojo is being able to learn applicable self-defense techniques. It means feeling confident that what you learn in the dojo is effective and well structured, taught by instructors that are martial arts savvy. It allows you to grow as an individual in physical fitness, mental discipline, and self-efficacy. The right dojo will make you feel safe ... from poor training, dangerous techniques, and time wasting.

Of all the martial arts Ann Arbor offers, the Japanese Martial Arts Center will meet all your standards. The traditional Japanese martial arts can have powerful applications, with devastating results. You'll be taught by World-class instructors who haven't stopped learning, competing, and growing as martial artists. We're more interested in your growth as a martial artist than in using promotions as an incentive to keep you. You'll be in programs that have a safe, structured curriculum, appropriate for all age groups, including kids, young adults, and adults.

Getting started is easy. You aren’t asked to fork out cash and sign a contract when you enter the door. Instead, you're welcome to watch a class in the program that you're interested in. If the training looks like something that would appeal to you, you can then arrange for two FREE introductory lessons with one of our instructors. In those lessons, you will be taught basic etiquette and enough fundamentals so that joining the other students will feel more comfortable.


Are the techniques effective?

Yes! We teach traditional Japanese martial arts, with rankings that are recognized by the Shudokan Martial Arts Association. We have students that go on to compete in national and state level tournaments, often coming away with medals in kata and randori divisions. We also have students that have gone on to defend themselves in life-threatening situations.

Will I be welcomed there?

Yes! It doesn’t matter where you are in your martial arts career, how physically active you are, or your personal identity. As long as you're respectful of other students’ safety, you'll get the chance to work in an environment that both challenges and encourages you. We have classes for children, teens, and adults.

Is it a clean, safe facility?

Yes! The claim to fame that this martial arts Ann Arbor dojo has is the sprung tatami mat, which helps ensure safe falls. (There are over 1200 springs in the floor, which makes it bouncy and increases your longevity as a martial artist!) The curriculum is built on a structure of evolving, intelligent techniques and conditioning to create the optimum environment for a growing martial artist.

Are the instructors qualified to teach?

Yes, and then some! For example, the head instructor, Suino-sensei, has a two-generation martial arts lineage that extends to the legendary Mifune Kyuzo. He has published extensively in the martial arts field, including The Art of Japanese Swordsmanship. He holds positions on several international martial arts committees. You can view other profiles here.

Getting Started with the Japanese Martial Arts Center

If the Japanese Martial Arts Center sounds like it might be a good fit for you, you’re more than welcome to come in to watch a class. Call us at (734) 645-6441 to arrange a time to visit, or check the schedule and come in when a class is happening. (Advanced courses are not open to the public.) If you feel more comfortable with email, you can message info@japanesemartialartscenter.com (or use the contact box at the top of this page). You can also visit us at 3853 Research Park Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Serving Southeast Michigan:

JMAC students come to practice from throughout Southeast Michigan, from such areas as:

  • Ann Arbor
  • Birmingham
  • Bloomfield
  • Brighton
  • Canton
  • Chelsea
  • Clinton Township
  • Detroit
  • Dexter
  • Dundee
  • Fenton
  • Fowlerville
  • Grass Lake
  • Howell
  • Inkster
  • Jackson
  • Lansing
  • Livonia
  • Manchester
  • Milan
  • Milford
  • Monroe
  • Novi
  • Okemos
  • Pinckney
  • Plymouth
  • Rochester
  • Romulus
  • Saline
  • Southfield
  • Tecumseh
  • Troy
  • Whitmore Lake
  • Wixom
  • Ypsilanti
  • University of Michigan
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Michigan State University
  • Washtenaw Community College
  • Oakland Community College
Directions to JMAC

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Ann Arbor - Martial Arts Mecca

For the prospective martial arts student, Ann Arbor is a mecca in the Midwest. More than any other location in Michigan, Ann Arbor has a wide variety of martial arts styles taught by many well respected sensei (teachers). You can find training opportunities at community centers, college and university gyms, health clubs, fitness centers and dojos (training halls). Among the styles available are: aikido, iaido, judo, jiu-jitsu (also called jujutsu), karate, kendo, kung fu, MMA (mixed martial arts, sometimes called BJJ) tae kwon do, tai chi, and many westernized martial arts systems. At JMAC, we offer world class instruction in judo, jiu-jitsu, iaido (Japanese swordsmanship), and karate for kids.


Aikido is a martial arts descended from jiu-jitsu. It includes joint locks, throws, takedowns, and pins. The philosophy of aikido is a peaceful one - to use the attacker’s energy to neutralize his or her attack without causing injury. Aikido is taught in several forms, such as Aikikai, Ki Society, and Yoshinkan. Aikido was founded by Ueshiba Morihei, who studied with Takeda Sokaku, the most famous practitioner of Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu. Its principles can be found in almost every Japanese martial art, especially jiu-jitsu and judo. Read more about the physical and philosophical principles of Nihon Jujutsu.

Iaido in Ann Arbor

Iaido is Japanese sword drawing. It was created by the Samurai to defend against surprise attacks by an armed opponent. Most iaido involves the practice of pre-arranged forms, which are excellent tools for training the body, improving concentration, and entering into a meditative state. Finding a talented instructor in iaido with legitimate credentials is rare … in the Midwest it’s practically unheard of. For those with a desire to compete in swordsmanship for sport, kendo is the activity of choice. Those who are willing to endure an occasional whack on the head may pursue bokken kumite (sparring with wooden swords) with our director’s authorization once they reach black belt at JMAC. Read more about iaido at JMAC.

Ann Arbor Judo

Judo was founded by Professor Jigoro Kano. It is both a martial art and an Olympic sport. It includes throws, pins, joint locks, and chokes. It is among the most vigorous of martial arts and is very popular with children as well as adults. The Japanese Martial Arts Center offers classes in judo for children as young as 6 years old, and for adults (starting at age 16). One fact not widely known is that sport judo is a narrow cross section of the complete art of judo. Proponents of the entire art, such as Satoh Tadayuki Sensei of Waseda University in Tokyo, recognize that the founder’s vision encompassed not only “judo” throws, but joint locks, takedowns, redirection, strikes, vital points, dynamic ukemi, kata, and weapons. Judo training at JMAC includes many of these opportunities. Read more about Judo at JMAC.

Ann Arbor Jiu-Jitsu (Jujitsu / Jujutsu)

Jujutsu - which is also written "jujitsu" and "jiu jitsu" - is the ancestor martial art of aikido and judo. Although it includes many of the techniques found in aikido, as well as many more combative techniques that did not find their way into aikido, the philosophy of jujutsu is more practical. Techniques are applied more directly, with a greater emphasis on pain compliance. Those who study jiu-jitsu over the long term improve their fitness, concentration, and ability to defend themselves. The Japanese Martial Arts Center offers serious jiu-jitsu classes for adults starting at age 16. You can learn more about the differences between Japanese jujutsu and Brazilian jiujitsu.

Karate – Kids Karate in Ann Arbor

Karate involves mainly strikes, kicks, and blocks. It was originally developed in the Ryukyu Islands (now Okinawa), and was later exported to Japan before finding its way around the world. Karate is an excellent martial art for those who prefer striking, and helps develop physical strength, stamina, and confidence. There are many forms of karate taught around the world today, including Shotokan, Shorin-ryu, Chito-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, and Kyokushinkai. If you’re looking for a way to help your child learn enthusiasm, fitness, discipline, and manners while having a lot of fun, consider the kids karate program at JMAC. We have an incredible core of talented instructors who have made it their business to inspire kids to be their best. Read more about our karate program for kids.


Kendo is a sport descended from Japanese swordsmanship. In Kendo, participants wear padded armor and attempt to score points by striking vital points with bamboo swords called "shinai." Practice is fast paced, involves much spirited shouting, and is a lot of fun. The Japanese Martial Arts Center does not offer kendo, but can refer you to a reputable kendo instructor in the area.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu is a Chinese martial art that actually includes many sub-styles. Like karate, kung fu involves strikes, kicks, and blocks, but also includes many esoteric motions that can be applied to take down or otherwise defeat an opponent. Kung fu often appeals to imaginative people because of the many references to animal forms, but it is also a very challenging and practical martial art.

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)

MMA (mixed martial arts) to a modern competition-based collection of techniques. Most MMA schools teach striking as well as grappling. Although not a traditional martial art - and thus lacking many of the character development and spiritual aspects of ancient Asian arts - MMA is nevertheless a fantastic form of exercise and a lot of fun. Because many MMA fighters have employed judo and jujutsu successfully, the Japanese Martial Arts Center offers private instruction to top-level competitors as well as occasional workshops for our members.

Tae Kwon Do

Tae Kwon Do is the Korean counterpart to Japanese karate. As a striking art, it includes punches, kicks, and blocks, but typically Tae Kwon Do emphasizes more kicking than does karate. Competition (usually for points rather than full contact) is very common among Tae Kwon Do practitioners. It is an excellent form of exercise, but seems more susceptible to commercialization than more traditional arts such as aikido and iaido.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is another form of Chinese martial art. It is usually taught with slow, controlled movements and deep stances. There are many health benefits associated with Tai Chi, including strong bones, cardiovascular health, and calmness.

Getting Started in Martial Arts in Ann Arbor

If you are considering taking up martial arts, you will find many superb opportunities in and around Ann Arbor, including outlying cities such as Brighton, Canton, Howell, Northville, and Plymouth. Students from the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Cleary College, and even Michigan State University have supplemented their education with martial arts and found that the physical activity helps them concentrate on their studies. We think the Japanese Martial Arts Center offers the best programs in Michigan, but we’re interested in people who are willing to work hard and do what it takes to become truly accomplished. We encourage you to look around to find the martial arts club or school that best meets your needs.