Instructors

Neil Chandler

Sensei Neil Chandler has been involved in traditional martial arts and combat sports for over 40 years.  He began boxing with his father and uncle, at the age of six, and later under the guidance of legendary Golden Glove Coach, Jim Gillard.  With the exception of injuries, he has trained almost every day since.  He is currently the fitness and program director for Anastasia Athletic Club, located on Anastasia Island, in St. Augustine, Florida.  He is President of the American Close Combat Society, Senior U.S. Representative of the United World Aikido Federation, and Chief Instructor for the Saint Augustine Aikido Center (Fudoshin Dojo), and classical combat arts of Japan (Byakko Dojo).  He is a former law enforcement officer, and has worked as a security consultant to both the public and private sector.  Chandler Sensei has earned the rank of 5th degree black belt in traditional Aikido, 4th degree black belt in Japanese Jujutsu, 3rd degree black belt in traditional Ninpo Taijutsu (Ninjutsu), and 1st degree black belt in Okinawan Kempo.  He is a certified personal trainer and instructor of Crossfit, Boxing, Krav Maga, Close Quarter Combat, and Aggression Control for medical personnel.  Sensei is a student/practitioner of oriental medicine and natural healing arts, including Acupuncture, Shiatsu and Reiki.  Mr. Chandler was the featured instructor in the documentary film, “Jujutsu, The Flexible Art,” and the number 1 rated episode of “Wife Swap” on ABC.  Mr. Chandler continues his work as a technical advisor on projects concerning Traditional Martial Arts. 

Several years ago, after many years of serious training, he began to feel like something was missing.  While he had learned hundreds of formal techniques, fought in competitions, and survived "real life conflicts”, he felt his martial arts knowledge was shallow and empty.  At that time, he felt most of what he had learned, along with his way of practice, was based on youth, strength, speed, and a strong desire to defeat others, to "prove something," based on a harsh and abusive upbringing.  His training lacked true substance, the inner factors spoken of by the truly great masters of the past.  He had no direction, no life path, no reason for "being."  Upon this realization, he gave up his rankings, his career path, and closed his martial arts school.  Starting over, he trained in several systems of martial arts with well known masters, adding to his knowledge, but still not finding what he was looking for.  He began traveling around looking for answers from authentic Spiritual Masters from Tibet, Japan, and China, as well as visiting sacred sites for intense training and meditation, including a visit to Mt. Futara.  He was always told the same thing.  What you are looking for is simply more labels and assumptions of truth.  There is no “answer” to what you seek.  It is a mystery.  It is a mystery because it has no definitions, no boundaries.  All the attributes of life, in this world and beyond exists within awareness itself and extend far beyond our ability to comprehend.  You cannot use mind (thoughts) to understand mind.  All thoughts and understanding on this level are simply more concepts.  You should only look within and discover who is this “I” which is seeking.  After spending time in seclusion, the meaning of this finally hit him.  He describes it as “being hit by a bolt of lightening.”  Suddenly his way was clear.


Today, Chandler Sensei is known as one of the most practical and innovative teachers in martial arts, incorporating elements from his extensive experience in traditional martial arts, combat sports, self defense and real life experience in his martial-oriented Aikido system, while still remaining true to the basics, and underlying principles set forth by Aikido founder, O’Sensei Morhei Ueshiba.  He has the ability to explain, in basic terms, the subtle dimensions of the traditional martial arts, allowing sincere students to transcend basic techniques of attack and defense, creating a truly life transforming path, a life worth living benefiting self and others.

 

Adam Chandler

I began training with my father, Neil Chandler at the age of two. I was tossed around the house by Dad’s throws and experienced rigorous training throughout most of my childhood. I began life as a shy individual who was opposed to confrontation. I wasn’t always focused and occasionally let my mind wander. After training with Dad for the first 12 years of my life, I entered my teenage years as a different person. The philosophy, life lessons, physical triumphs and teachings sculpted me into an individual who stood up for what was right, fought for my beliefs and a person who defended myself and others. At the same time, I still was a compassionate person with a love for all things.

There are exceptional martial arts in the world and many of these can teach you how to defend yourself but the teaching style of these arts forces the student to lose a piece of themselves, forget compassion and the feelings of others. My father’s teachings only strengthened my beliefs and taught me to look inward just as much as I look outward. In my opinion, the physical martial skills I acquired were byproduct of what I gained within mentally and spiritually. I have continued training with my Dad to this day and as I entered adulthood, I realized that the world was changing. Understanding there is always a balance of good & evil and that the universe is always in a state of transition, I didn’t set out to change things but to be an observer and step up only to help others who couldn’t help themselves and to inspire people to do the same. Here are a few of my experiences.

I started small but am slowly taking on larger projects. At 17, a six of my fellow Aikido practitioners traveled 3 hours to Lady Lake Florida to assist tornado victims. 19 people were killed that day by the tornado and the six of us did all that we could to help those affected by this tragic storm. Picking up debris and delivering food & water but it was a day worth remembering. Link That same year, I took a day to help cleanup downtown Saint Augustine Florida as a hurricane made landfall on our coast and caused power outages and flooding. Clothing and monetary donations were common as Dad always inspired everyone in class to give to a charity instead of giving him gifts on his birthday.

In 2008, I took on an Internet based project in San Francisco. This breakthrough product could only become a reality if I packed and moved across country. Since moving to San Francisco, things in my life have certainly changed and I’ve been able to affect people on a broader level. When I first moved to the city, it was a huge change. San Francisco has nearly 1 million people living on land that only measures 7 square miles. This was a huge change compared to my old hometown, which only has 60 thousand residents in a much larger land area. I made the mistake of moving to a high crime area in San Francisco but looking back, it was a great atmosphere that accelerated my growth and knowledge. On a daily basis, I was seeing the homeless, hungry and poor as I stepped out of my apartment. Within the first 3 months, I was in 3 physical altercations involving people who wanted to harm others or me.

Using the training Dad gave me, I avoided waking up in a hospital bed, which would have certainly been the outcome on all three occasions. Two of the instances involved men who grabbed or threatened my girlfriend and me as we were leaving our apartment in downtown San Francisco. The first instance, someone grabbed my girlfriend as we walked past and my experiences in Aikido allowed me to stop the person before it escalated. The other instance was with two men as they started to grab for me and I threatened them with a knife to diffuse the situation. In both situations, both my girlfriend and me were safe following the events.

Only a couple of months after living in San Francisco, I was in a local coffee shop when an employee asked a homeless man to leave as he had been sitting down as a non-paying customer for over an hour. He became irate and I turned around as he pulled his hand back to strike her. I spilled my coffee and moves swiftly to stop the attack and then escort him out. This experience was easier than it sounds given my history in Dad’s class and our training experiences involving multiple attackers, real weapons and high stress training environments. Training certainly paid off with these instances and many more.

After living in San Francisco for a few months, I wanted to become more active in the community and help people who are less fortunate. Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck but don’t take time to help those even less fortunate in their time of need. I am not a millionaire but my efforts in helping the homeless, raising money for local charities and giving my time have inspired others to do the same. I have a few thousand people who read my blogs and using the power of the web, I’ve helped raise thousands of dollars for charity and thousands of dollars in food and toys being donated. I’ve done this through web broadcasting, television broadcasting and fundraiser events in San Francisco. I’ve seen others follow in my footsteps and ask me to help them organize events and fundraisers as well.

In my latest project, I setup a webcam out of my old apartment that was in a bad neighborhood in San Francisco. In December of 2008, over 1 million people tuned in to see what was going on at that street corner, I raised a few thousand dollars for charity and crime on that part of town went down over 30% according to law enforcement. Simply showing the world what actually happens in inner-city neighborhoods in large cities, I inspired people to donate their time and money to helping charities. The project called “Adam’s Block” did contain some very scary footage but I have received thousands of emails from people thanking me for showing them what it’s really like out there.

I will continue to use my knowledge of martial arts and philosophy that Dad has taught me to defend myself and others, help everyone around me and act as a little match that lights up a very dark world. Leading by example, I hope that others will join in this fight to do what is right and help change the world.