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Martial Arts Classes in Greenville, Greer and Travelers Rest

  • Self Defense

    Self-defense is a serious subject, but this is not the army, it is a classroom and we have fun while learning. Even the strongest building can’t stand on a weak foundation. That is why we support each other in class because you can only learn and grow if you have a strong support system to stand on. Come and meet like-minded individuals, engage with other members of your community, and have some fun!

    Self-defense courses in Greenville, Greer and Travelers Rest

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  • Classes for kids

    Children need lots of activity to use all the energy they have and grow up healthy and strong. But learning a martial art is much more than that. It also starts a child on a lifelong path of enjoying physical activity in a positive atmosphere.

    Martial arts classes for kids in Greenville, Greer and Travelers Rest

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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.

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.


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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


Ask any one of our students - training at BMAF is a postitive, potentially life-altering decision. Check out our reviews on Facebook, Google Search, etc., and then come for a visit to see what we're all about.

“This place was heaven sent to my family. My son has matured and is becoming a strong young man. If you join you will not be disappointed!”

Stacey Garraux

“I’ve never met such a group of decent, friendly people who truly enjoy taking swings at and throwing each other around for an hour or two a few times a week. I leave every class and each partner activity having learned something new…”

Blair Stephenson

“Simply put ‘The Best of the Best’. Great people/students. Great school/dojo. Great Instructor.”

Rick Haskett

“Great instructor. He loves the kids and teaches real life situations.”

Randi Schneider

“A honest martial arts school that strives in producing self defense for the individual in an ever changing combative age. A safe environment to train and hone your skills in the martial arts.”

Shawn Christopher

“Professional, knowledgeable,and impressive. Great for the kids, my daughter is obsessed.”

Jonathan Davis

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.


Our young son started learning aikido at Beckham Martial Arts last summer, and he has absolutely loved it! Mr. Beckham is a great teacher. He's firm with the students and maintains strict discipline, but he's patient and willing to work with the kids until they learn what they need to know. He imparts life lessons in equal measure with martial arts knowledge. Highly recommended.

— Jeremy Summerlin

My 6 year old son has grown so much during his time here. The high expectations, delivered with respect and love, produces quality martial arts students. My son is stronger mentally and physically. He is learning to give respect in and outside of class while learning the art of aikido. He is also having fun while learning the fundamentals needed to defend himself if needed. I highly recommended Beckham's Martial Arts and Fitness.

— Amanda Sopko

My daughter has been taking martial arts from Mr. Beckham’s for a few months now and we have been nothing but satisfied. His classes not only teach self-defense but also teaches children confidence and respect. My daughter is always excited about going and learning new techniques. Thank you Mr. Beckham for all you do!!

— Alexis Reid