Beckham Martial Arts & Fitness, formerly Aikido School of Self-Defense, is a premier martial arts school that has been serving the Upstate of South Carolina for over 30 years. We are conveniently located in the heart of Greenville and easily accessible from Easley, Berea, Taylors, Greer, and Spartanburg. We offer adult and children's classes five days a week, with both morning and evening times for adult students with busy lifestyles.

At Beckham Martial Arts & Fitness we are unique in that we offer a state of the art training facility that has 1,800 square feet of floor space dedicated to aikido instruction with top of the line mats (Swain FlexiRoll Sports Mats - the best on the market). We have separate men's and women's dressing rooms and rest rooms, and we offer seating for visitors, guests, and parents who wish to watch the adult or children's classes. Striking and kicking bags are also provided for additional strength training. Our 3,000 total sq. ft. facility was originally built in 1922 and was renovated personally in 2012 by Joe Beckham and his students.


NGA is a movement based, close-quarters martial art that can be learned by anyone of any size or age. It is a combination of aikido, aiki-jujitsu, jujitsu, judo, karate, and iaido. We teach street effective self-defense that disarms and subdues aggressors with turns, throws, joint-locks, and breaks. Our unique training system improves reflexes and reaction time. We use partner blending drills, partner uke/nage, attack lines, and randori exercises. Additionally, we are now offering low impact classes for adults at the same time as our regular adult classes.


Children are the heart of Beckham Martial Arts & Fitness. Our children’s classes are designed to build physical strength, balance, coordination, and stamina. We also help them to build confidence, self-esteem, respect, and integrity. Our agenda for children is to grow them to be competent, productive young people – at home and at school. It is not uncommon to see their grade levels increase along with their respect for authority and respect for themselves. We offer classes for both 4-6 year old’s and 7-12 year old’s.


Nihon Goshin Aikido is arguably one of the best martial arts for women to learn for self-defense. Every woman, young or old, should learn the basics of defending themselves. At Beckham Martial Arts & Fitness, we encourage ladies to be always be aware of their surroundings and to know how to target the weakest points on an aggressor. We offer group lessons at our dojo or on site at businesses and organizations. This is an excellent class for college-bound and traveling women and for anyone who wants to feel safer while out on their own.


Private lessons are for those are who aren’t sure they’re ready to jump headfirst into the regular classes or for those who are only interested in one-on-one, more specific and intense training. We have had several students transition from private lessons to our adult classes. We also offer private lessons for families or small groups who are interested in learning to defend themselves but are not able to commit the time to a dedicated training schedule. Church groups, corporations, and businesses have all also benefited from private lessons with BMAF.



We mean business. Every day people are attacked. On the street by strangers, at school by bullies, or - worse - at work or home by friends or loved ones. Nihon Goshin Aikido has the unique ability to combat both. We teach you techniques that have the potential to cause serious damage to your opponent, but that's not our goal. Aikido is about control. Our objective is to subdue the attacker as quickly as possible, avoiding bodily injury to yourself as well as the aggressor. We don't allow attitudes in this school, and we don't tolerate bullies. We are noncompetitive. We'll teach you to protect yourself, but we'll give you options on how to do so effectively. The founder of our style, Shodo Morita, took the best techniques from the five Japanese styles he had trained in and formed one all-encompassing art. Nihon Goshin Aikido is a system of practical self-defense that anyone – small or large, young or old – can learn. We use small group exercises and personalized instruction to teach our students, but at Beckham Martial Arts & Fitness we also have a unique system in place to train reflexes, reaction time, and technique application. Our methods include: blending drills, uke/nage, attack lines, and randori.
We offer a serious self-defense system for all ages and sizes. Our dojo is more than a school, it's a life-style choice. How will YOU protect yourself and your family?

Blending drills are designed to help us understand the importance of mobile stability, timing, and distance. Aikido is a movement-based martial art. We blend ourselves with the attacker's momentum, keeping our balance while knocking the moving attacker off balance. This gives us an advantage over the larger, stronger attacker. Blending is foundational to our art.

Uke/nage (attacker/defender) is a routine we use to develop the proper reflex action against an attack. Self-defense must be as natural as breathing. If there is an pause in your reaction the attacker may regain composure and the advantage. By repeating the precise, properly executed defensive manuevers and techniques we internalize these moves and make them second nature. It becomes instinct.

Attack lines are a training routine that places the student in a position to spontaneously defend from either a specified or unspecified attack. The defender stands on a spot designated by the instructor. The students line up and one-by-one step up and attack using methods such as any grip, punch, series of punches or kicks, or any knife, club, or gun attack. The defender must then defend themselves using their knowledge and skill gained through their training.

Randori is the ultimate training standard for the rank of black belt. In randori a student is placed in the middle of the workout floor and is surrounded by three to ten attackers. Upon the command hajime (begin) given by the instructor, the attackers use whatever method they wish to attack the defender. This routine tests the students nerve and endurance like no other routine. Gained confidence from randori practices puts your level of self-defense on another plane.

  • 1 out of 5 people will be physically attacked in their lifetime

  • 1 out of 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime

  • 3 out of 5 women have freed themselves from an attacker because they decided to fight

  • 1 out 3 children will be bullied during their school years


Uploaded image


Lead Instructor, Roku-Dan, 6th Degree Black Belt in Nihon Goshin Aikido
Joe Beckham began training on August 16, 1980 in Spartanburg, SC. He is a Roku-Dan (6th degree black belt) in Nihon Goshin Aikido. He has also received a Sho-danho position in Hombu Aikido under Fumio Toyoda, and a San-Dan in Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaido under Hanshi Greg Huff.
Uploaded image


Go-Dan, 4th Degree Black Belt
Al Golding is a fourth degree black belt in Nihon Goshin Aikido who has been training under Beckham since June of 1993. He specializes in Aiki-jujitsu.
Uploaded image


San-Dan, 3rd Degree Black Belt
Derrick Baxter has trained with Mr. Beckham since February of 1995. He currently lives in Georgia, does not regularly train with the BMAF dojo, but maintains strong ties with BMAF. He is currently the only instructor/student with an IMBD actor’s page.
Uploaded image


San-Dan, 3rd Degree Black Belt
Michael McDunn began his aikido training in June of 1996. He is a master furniture maker and is the owner of The Studio Of Michael McDunn in Greenville, South Carolina. Michael is a third degree black belt.
Uploaded image


San-Dan, 3rd Degree Black Belt
Don Ungefug, a native of the Upstate, began his aikido training in June of 2000. He has a degree in Criminal Justice from Clemson University and presently works for Ashland Chemical as a Quality Control Technician. Don is married to Lisa Ungefug.
Uploaded image


San-Dan, 3rd Degree Black Belt
Chad Hardin began aikido training in October of 2002. He has a Business Administration degree and is an engineering recruiter. Chad is married and has two children.
Uploaded image


Ni-Dan, 2nd Degree Black Belt
John Morrison began training with Mr. Beckham in March of 1994. He has an MBA from the University of South Carolina and is currently employed by the state of South Carolina. John is married and has one child.
Uploaded image


Ni-Dan, 2nd Degree Black Belt
Rick Haskett began training in March of 1991. He is the owner of AAA Locksmith & Alarm, President/Co-Owner of State Investigations, and Director of Mission Ready Ministries. Rick is married and has two children and four grandchildren.
Uploaded image


Ni-Dan, 2nd Degree Black Belt
Sensei Michael Hamilton began training in July of 2004. He has been in law enforcement for twenty-two years and is a Captain with the Fountain Inn Police Department. Michael is married and has three children.
Uploaded image


Sho-Dan, 1st Degree Black Belt
Ray Land began training in aikido in August of 2000. He is also ranked (2nd degree black belt) in Taekwondo. Ray is married and has two children.
Uploaded image


Sho-Dan, 1st Degree Black Belt
John Jeter began training with Mr. Beckham in July of 2008. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from USC and is an Insurance and Financial Services Agent for State Farm. John is married and has three children.
Uploaded image


Sho-Dan, 1st Degree Black Belt
David Jones was born and raised in Greer, South Carolina. He began training in Nihon Goshin Aikido with Mr. Beckham in 2003 and received his Sho-Dan in May of 2015 after several breaks in training.


Do you know when you're going to be attacked? How you're going to be attacked? How quickly? Where? No. You cannot know how it's going to happen. So to prepare yourself, you train for the worst and hope for the best.

Latest news

Get in touch