About Maikido

Maikido students learn both striking and grappling techniques while standing and on the ground. The form stresses a scientific approach to modern self-defense. We help you advance from beginning white through advanced black belt in an encouraging environment. Our experienced instructors have been volunteering their time and skills in the Winona area since 1981.

Maikido is…

  1. A self-defense system.
  2. An environment encouraging growth in the spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, tactical and strategic aspects of  self-defense.
  3. An atmosphere of warmth and caring for all who come, regarding their health, well-being, and safety, in the pursuit of self-defense development.
  4. A disciplined training system with methods and philosophy fostering growth of personality and character concurrently with technique.

Maikido Philosophy

The following Maikido philosophy describes Maikido as a “modern” martial arts form, paraphrased as follows:

“Maikido is considered to be a modern school of martial art. Culturally and traditionally, all styles of martial art are universal and identical, or somehow similar to schools under different founders who perhaps learned from the same master. Therefore martial art should be viewed as a “science.” This being true, we are committed to overcoming barriers our forefathers had failed to overcome, by making discoveries which they may have missed.

Hence, after 30 years of practice, studies and research on various forms and styles of martial art, MAIKIDO was created. The term “modern” means “combination or fusion of various forms of Oriental martial art.” The best and most applicable techniques are selected and incorporated into this form or system of martial art known as MAIKIDO.”

Joseph Chia continues…

“Maikido karate is a modern school of the art of self-defense and incorporates the best of fighting forms and self-defense skills which have been biomechanically analyzed, tested, adjusted and adapted to produce the most efficient and effective human fighting skills.”

The philosophy continues…

“The word ‘karate’ is a very much overused term for all forms of self-defense. There are many different schools of self-defense which come under the banner of karate. Maikido is one of the many schools of self-defense. Karate has a very long history and its’ origins are uncertain and steeped in mystery.  It is only in the last century that karate made its’ debut and opened its’ doors to the world. At the present time karate is recognized and practiced as a sport and as self-defense throughout the world and is a very popular sport among competitors and non-competitors as well. The reasons for this great popularity can be found in the many benefits that are derived from modern karate training methods which develop a person physically as well as mentally. A karate practitioner will improve his/her endurance, coordination, agility, and strength, and develop self-defense skills. He/she will also develop self-discipline, self-control, tolerance, respect for self and others, and development of character. Maikido karate incorporates all these values in its’ syllabus and training programs to balance both the mind and the body.”

The philosophy continues further…

“In pursuit of Maikido,  a student embraces the following values:

  1. Self-discipline.
  2. Physical development.
  3. Personality and character development.
  4. Proper respect and consideration for others.
  5.  Ability to help others in need.
  6. Ability to defend oneself.

Embracing these values enables a person to lead a better life, and become more useful to his community and country.”

These values, along with the aforementioned philosophy, form the basis of Maikido.


It is difficult to pinpoint Western concepts equivalent to Eastern elements in the transmission of knowledge from East to West. As you will see, the symbolism in Maikido has many such challenging elements. It reflects Chinese philosophical and spiritual concepts, which may seem esoteric at best, in relation to their Western counterparts. Even though there are loud and clear differences between the methods and beliefs in either culture, it is in the similarities where we find cross-cultural harmony and unity.  Maikido was created by those who live at the edge of East and West. American Maikido combines the best Oriental fighting skills in a Chinese-American harmonization of values, skill and spirit. This transmission of knowledge has been accomplished by Joseph Chia. The result is proper internationalism, and exquisite cross-culturalism, not to mention superb martial art. The following symbolism richly depicts the fusion of Eastern culture and philosophy with Western values; they meet in an interesting way:

“What is the meaning of MAIKIDO?  MAI-KI-DO is the combination of three words.  The word ‘MAI’ (“i” is silent) means ‘tranquility’, ‘KI’ ‘inner energy’, and ‘DO’, ‘the art’.” Maikido was developed in Malaysia.  Maikido is considered modern in the sense that it has no tradition that is steeped in history, rather it has a modern scientific way of training. The founder practiced the art of self-defense for more than thirty-five years and taught self-defense techniques in schools and colleges for more than twenty years, knew the flaws and strengths of the various arts, decided to select, adapt, adjust, analyze, and incorporate the best applicable fighting skills into an art of self-defense known as Maikido. Many of the fighting techniques in Maikido have been analyzed and adjusted with flaws eliminated and strengths consolidated to produce a formidable human weapon.”

“The Maikido emblem is based on the dragon, a legendary creature which symbolizes strength, power, and endurance. The outer line of the dragon cuts the circle neatly in two halves, one of which is black and the other white. This symbolizes the harmony of the yin (negative) and the yang (positive) forces which the Chinese believe to be essential if a person is to have physical and mental health. The white circle that encircles the dragon signifies that all martial arts are universal, that circular movement is important and that learning is endless. The red circle symbolizes ‘violence, anger, and hatred’ in every person. The ring of semicircles that edges the red circle symbolizes the need for each person to control such unhealthy attitudes. This means that in Maikido a person does not practice violence against his fellowmen but instead shows gentleness, tolerance, acceptance and love in teaching others. This is one of the tenets of Maikido.”

As you can see, the symbolism is a cultural expression of ideals and values. Another good example of this relationship is the symbolism in Maikido between belt color, a virtue, and a stage of growth in the life of a flowering plant. The relationships follow:

The White belt virtue is ”obedience.” Its’ stage of growth is the seed.

The Yellow belt virtue is “strength.” It is symbolized by the sun.

The Orange belt virtue is “goodness.” It is symbolized by the setting sun.

The Green belt virtue is “knowledge.” It is like a growing plant.

The Blue belt virtue is “love.” This is symbolized by the budding plant greeting the blue sky.

The Brown belt virtues are “insight” and “wisdom.” They are symbolized by a flowering manifestation of skill.

The Red belt virtue is “moral living.” This is the fruit.

The Black belt encompasses all of the virtues, including “humility” and “love.” This is the harvest.

Our motto in Maikido is “Without Him we are nothing.” This signifies that God deserves the praise and glory for all our skills, talents, and achievements.

More On Symbolism

The Maikido emblems, with their written expressions and symbols, form visual capstones for Maikido. I will attempt to describe what a Chinese may think when viewing these emblems and expressions.

The top left word (or character) is peace or harmony. The middle left word refers to several ideas; breath; the inward control of mind, breath, or mental status; spirit; vital force; and intention. The bottom left word means method or principle upon which the system is built; or approach. This three word expression could be interpreted as meaning “a peaceful method of control of the  mind, breath, and intention.”  This is the first expression read when seeing this emblem.

The second expression begins with the same word; peace or harmony. The second word is physical fitness.  The third word is hall, or place of enlightenment. This expression could be interpreted as “a peaceful physical fitness place of enlightenment.” The two expressions, when read in succession, are quite descriptive. The first expression, “a peaceful method of control of the mind, breath and intention,” conjures up notions of a somewhat less than exciting self-defense training program.  The second expression refers to the “peaceful (not violent) nature of the place of enlightenment (Dojo), in a strong program of physical fitness.” To me, this describes a peaceful school of athletics.

As the viewer sees the emblem, he cannot help but see the dragon protruding from the middle.

When seen in the Orient, the dragon brings certain powerful images to mind.  In the Orient, the dragon is a proud and majestic symbol. The oriental dragon espoused in Maikido represents the best qualities of many different animals. It represents virtues like benevolence, kindness, power, might, and strength.  In short, this dragon possesses the best qualities of different animals, symbolically referring to the multi-faceted makeup of Maikido. Specifically, it was described in Chinese culture as having “the head of a camel, the horns of a deer, the eyes of a rabbit, the ears of a cow, the neck of a snake, the belly of a frog, the scales of a carp, the claws of a hawk and the palm of a tiger. Its beard contained a bright pearl and its voice was like the jingling of copper pans.”

In this emblem, the dragon protrudes from white into black, from passive into aggressive, from good into evil; but remains rooted in white, passive, and good.  It jumps out from the two-dimensional plane into the three-dimensional world. The Maikido dragon refers to an ultimate, formidable fighting weapon, which peacefully treads in the territory of human growth and change, continually surrounded by turmoil and strife, but always a beacon of strength, and only visible to those who wish to see him. The dragon in Maikido is a willing and formidable soldier who stands for goodness, righteousness, and truth. The dragon comes to the aid of others.

The above emblem appears on Maikido certificates of promotion. Although similar, there are two differences between this statement and the expressions which accompany the previous dragon emblem. One difference lies in the characters themselves; they are of the older style, before the last simplification of the Chinese writing system.  To me, this signifies a respect for tradition. The second difference is that the left string of characters (read from top to bottom) has a different middle word. In this statement, the concept of “breath,” or “the inward control of mind, breath, mental status; or intention”, is replaced by the number “three.” This is a substitution of the idea of the Holy Trinity as a source of strength; an extension of the concept of “Ki.” The two concepts represented between the two emblems are important separately; and together, they refer to inter-changeable, commingling concepts of spiritual strength, which are banner concepts in Maikido. This expression represents the Christian roots in the artform of Maikido. “Without Him we are nothing” is the motto of Maikido.  All glory and honor for our accomplishments goes to God. Showing the way of gentleness and love in teaching others is primary in Maikido training. To me, this emblem represents peace and harmony in Christ, and the Christian roots of our organization. But more importantly, it represents the values espoused by Maikido. It is a worthy banner statement.


The following is an excerpt from the 1980 Maikido Tournament Booklet, describing the nature of meditation in Maikido:

“Meditation is part of the training programme. There is no criteria for testing the students on meditation, especially concerning the spiritual aspects of the innerself.  Only the aspects of theory and manner can be questioned. Therefore the knowledge and systematic method of meditation must be taught to every MAIKIDO student.  Its’ significant values must be emphasized. At the beginning and the ending of the training, or after strenuous training, one must meditate for a few minutes to calm down the violence in one’s body.

Meditation and proper breathing technique must go hand in hand. Without proper breathing technique, its’ effectiveness cannot be reached  That is to say “no proper breathing, no meditation.” It is through meditation that the mind and the body will work harmoniously and in unison. The fusion of the mind and the body is very important so that we can obtain a “supernormal strength,” known as “chi,” “ki” or “inner energy.” Physical strength and inner strength are quite different from each other. Physical strength comes from the muscles whereas inner strength from the mind. The inner strength known as “chi” or “ki” as mentioned, is being emphasized in many oriental martial art schools. Everyone has the “chi” in oneself. To what extent one develops the inner strength depends upon one’s physical and mental training. Concentration or focusing at one point is of great value in achieving results. Besides this, yin and yang must be kept in harmony so that inner energy will develop to a greater extent. Meditation trains the mind and the mind begets the knowledge of mindfulness. The qualities that one derives through meditation are (to mention some):

a.  Development of the sensories.

b.  Relaxation and calmness.

c.  Self-discipline and self-control.

d.  Awareness.

e.  Concentration.

f.  Insight.

g.  Understanding the importance of moral and human limitation.

As you can see by this passage, the development of internal strength, harmonizing all aspects of being, is a pre-requisite to proper Maikido training.

Training Program

All of the techniques performed in Maikido must conform to the Maikido technical standards and philosophy, as espoused by Joseph Chia and held by Kevin Burke, John Carroll, and me. The ultimate training goal of Maikido is to create a formidable human weapon. The training program for Maikido consists of several areas.  These areas cover theory and technique, giving liberal attention to both. From White belt through Black belt the areas of study are as follows:

  1. Various forms of striking and blocking technique.
  2. Numerous forms of kicking technique, including jumping technique.
  3. Throwing and breakfalls.
  4. Internal strength technique.
  5. Meditation.
  6. Destruction.
  7. Weapon technique.
  8. Holds and locks.
  9. Physical endurance.
  10. Free Sparring.
  11. Refereeing.
  12. Theoretical test.
  13. Elementary knowledge of first aid.

This list is a template, representing general areas which are studied routinely, by all levels. These areas, when studied more specifically, combine with strategic maneuvers in sparring, to give Maikido its character and style. Even though the list seems short and simple, its’ content represents at least “ten-thousand” possible self-defense applications. Also keep in mind what a difference your philosophy and methods will make in the outcome of your training.

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