Home About NJ Aikikai Instructors
About our Instructors

Joe Conti
Rokudan, Shihan, Renshi, Sensei


Conti Sensei holds rank and teaching certificates in the following martial arts: Okinawan Shorin-ryu Karate, Aikido, Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, Judo, Kempo, Okinawan Kobudo (weapons), Kenjutsu, Iaijutsu, and Iaido (sword arts). He has been training and teaching Martial Arts for over forty five years.

After studying and teaching Nihon Goshin Aikido for over fifteen years under the direction of Master Richard A. Bowe, Conti Sensei began his study of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu Kodokai under Master Teacher Katsumi Yonezawa from Hokkaido, Japan and Hayawo Kiyama Shihan from Los Osos, California. Sensei was also honored to have hosted Tatsuo Shimbo Shihan during a week-long Daitoryu seminar when Shimbo Shihan accompanied Yonezawa Sensei to the NJ Aikikai and Budokan.Japan
Sensei studied with Master Yonezawa and Hayawo Kiyama Shihan for over eight years. After eight years of hosting the master in his home every summer in the USA and training with him, Conti Sensei received the ranks of Sandan, Okusandan, Yondan, Godan, and Jun Shihan Daidi, and was appointed as the first Eastern United States Director of Kodokai Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu. Conti Sensei sponsored countless seminars, clinics, and workshops for and with Yonezawa Sensei and Hayawo Kiyama Shihan throughout the eastern United States during the eight-year relationship.  As the Eastern United States Director for several years, Conti Sensei attempted to organize and spread the knowledge and skills of Kodokai Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, but unfortunately politics guided the growth of the association. Therefore, Conti Sensei decided to resign from the position and the organization. The NJ Aikikai & Budokan is no longer affiliated with either Nihon Goshin Aikido or Kodokai Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu.

Conti Sensei studied Okinawan Isshin-ryu Karate with Master Gary Alexander in the 1970s and Shorin-ryu Karate with Master Vince Ward and Master John Hamilton from the 1970s to the present day. Conti Sensei's Okinawan, Japanese, and Chinese weapons knowledge and skills were imparted by Master Vince Ward. Sensei was also fortunate to have studied Kick Boxing, Judo, Kenjutsu, Kempo, and Ninjutsu with the legendary Joe Lewis, John Larlee, Vince Ward, John Hamilton, Dennis Decker, and Richard Wiggington, respectively.

Having studied Aikido, Aikijujutsu, Judo, Shorin-ryu Karate, Kempo, Kobudo, Kobujutsu, Iaido, Iaijutsu, and Kenjutsu for over forty five years and attaining teacher and master certifications, Sensei is now affiliated with the Shorin No Tora Ryu dojo and the Sho-Ha Shorin-ryu Karate Federation. Conti Sensei was also a member of the Japanese Sword Society.

Periodically, throughout the school-year, Sensei teaches a self defense course at William Paterson University for the Go Japan Club and the Asian Culture Club. He has appeared on cable TV providing several special martial arts demonstrations for the Asian Cultural Arts Society, which aired on the "Asian Culture in America" program hosted by Paul Sher.


The European Karate and Martial Arts Federation honored Sensei by asking him to teach at the November 2008 International Martial Arts Seminar in Tours, France. The European organization is represented by 12 countries and has a student population of 22,000 members. Sensei was fortunate to have instructed approximately 300 advanced students at the seminar.

In addition to his martial arts degrees and teaching certificates, Sensei devoted thirty-five years to public education as a teacher, supervisor, vice principal, and a director of technology. He achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Science, a State of New Jersey teaching certificate, principal's and supervisor's certificates, and a master's degree in Educational Administration.

Sensei also plays the guitar and keyboard and sings in a band with his wife.
Sensei had the opportunity to work as a stunt man for stunt director Pete Bucossi, and assisted in the choreography of an altercation in the movie Music and Lyrics. Another opportunity was in the HBO history-making series The Sopranos where Sensei played a bodyguard and was "whacked" in the episode entitled Remember When. Recently, Sensei had a small part in the Columbia Pictures movie The Bounty Hunter.


Rick Jones
Yondan, Renshi


Mr. Jones began his training at age seven at the Aikido School of Self Defense in Piscataway, NJ, of which Sensei Joe Conti was the proprietor. This began a life long study of the martial arts. Mr. Jones spent seven years studying the art of Nihon Goshin Aikido at the Piscataway based dojo. After a four year hiatus, he returned to the teacher and arts he vehemently missed. Beginning his studies again as a white belt, he trained and studied his way to Sho Dan and currently to Yon Dan with Conti Sensei in the arts of Shorin Ryu Karate, aikijujutsu, kobujutsu and self defense. His study also has included iaijutsu and kenjutsu as well as history and philosophy. During the thirty plus years of training he has had the privilege of experiencing direct study with some of Conti Sensei's teachers as well as attending seminars and training with other well known martial arts instructors.

In 2006 Mr. Jones trained and tested the techniques of a Makimono, which had been awarded to Conti Sensei by Yonazawa Katsumi, Daitoryu Aikijujutsu Kodokai, as part of his Yondan promotion.

In 2008 Mr. Jones accompanied Conti Sensei on his trip to France and assisted in the instruction of the jo (four foot staff) during several seminars for over 300 members of the European Federation of Karate and Traditional Martial Arts. The following year the jo techniques and kata were added to the Federation's weapons (Kobujutsu) curriculum.

Mr. Jones is an NJIT School of Architecture graduate and has worked and owned his own firm in the design and construction industry for over 20 years with recent focus in the Telecommunications and Datacenter industry.


Jack MacKay


Mr. Mackay has studied with Conti Sensei at the “N.J. Aiki Kai and Budokan” for almost twenty-five (25) years. During this time, he has attained the rank of Sandan (third degree/level black belt) in both Shorin-ryu karate and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. He also has extensively trained in the Okinawan weapons and Japanese sword arts. Mr. Mackay has been an assistant, and later an instructor, for classes at our school for over fifteen (15) years.

Before he began his training at the Budokan, Mr. Mackay studied a form of “Yang-style” Tai Chi Chuan for several years with instructors under Master Jou, Tsung-Wa in Piscataway, N.J. In addition to teaching and training in the martial arts, Mr. Mackay has taught Special Education (Social Studies and English) at Piscataway High School (New Jersey) for the past twenty-eight (28) years. Over this same time period, he has served as a counsel, and later as director, for the Springfield, N.J.-based ACLD (Association for Children and adults with Learning Disabilities) program. This program offers recreation and socialization activities for adults with learning and/or developmental disabilities.

Mal Braich

Bob Heuner

James Wohler


David Kinsky

Mr. Kinsky has been training at the NJ Aikikai and Budokan since 1993.  He was promoted to assistant instructor in 1999 and to Shodan in 2007. Over the years, he not only has taught at the dojo but also has instructed the public in self-defense seminars to children and women's groups.

Professionally speaking, Mr. Kinsky manages a team of Systems Engineers for Cisco Systems.  He has worked in the IT Field since 1991.  He has a Master's Degree in Telecomm Management and a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science.

Mr. Kinsky currently resides in Hunterdon County.  He is an active tri-athlete and soccer coach.

Greg Wilson


Mr. Wilson began his martial arts career in 1985 with the Bucknell University TaeKwonDo Program under the instruction of Daniel Rheam and received his Red Belt before graduating College in 1988.

Now living in NJ and looking for a new TKD school to train at, he checked out the Karate School up the street from his apartment.  This School, NJ Aiki Kai and Budokan, impressed him, but it was not TKD.  Having trained there for a few months in 1988, he made the decision to renew his search for a Tae Kwon Do school in order to get his black belt in that art.

In 1991 he earned a Tae Kwon Do Black Belt with the American TaeKwonDo Association under the instruction of Vince Raimondi.  Having accomplished the goal of a TKD black belt, he then found the TKD upper level curriculum there to be somewhat redundant.  He wanted to expand his knowledge in weapons and general self-defense.

Remembering the far more diverse martial arts experience he had at NJ Aikikai and Budokan, Mr. Wilson re-joined the NJ Aikikai  in 1991 as a White Belt.

He proceeded to then work through the various student ranks, assistant instructor, and was eventually promoted to Shodan in 2009.   Mr. Wilson now teaches class and helps with the private instruction of Adults and Children. Mr. Wilson continues to work towards his next levels of advancement in the Martial arts and is part of the Dojo’s Japanese Sword school.

Professionally speaking, Mr. Wilson works for IBM as a Technical Sales Specialist. He has worked in the Computer Industry since 1988.  He has a Master's Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry.


Mr Malara



Mr. Malara has been training at the New Jersey Aikikai & Budokan since 2000.   For several years he has been active as an assistant instructor and an annex school instructor.   Hehas taught our Karate curriculum to children at a local school as part of their summer activities  program.   Mr. Malara has also assisted Conti Sensei in various seminars and demonstrations as Uke.

In 2012 he tested for, and received, his Shodan certification.   Along with the extensive curriculum, Mr. Malara also studies Iaido, Iaijutsu, and Kenjutsu. Mr. Malara has achieved a B.A. in Early Childhood education and holds certification to teach Pre-k through 5th grade and K-8 elementary education.   In addition, he also is certified in Special Education (TOH) and has been extensively involved as a teacher of students with Autism.

Kevin Cansian



Mr. Cansian began serious training in 1997, with the East Coast Bujutsukai. Through hard work and determination he rose to the rank of Iikyu (brown belt) in a relatively short amount of time.  However, due to financial reasons, the dojo was forced to close in July 1999.


For the next several years, Mr. Cansian searched for an authentic dojo that would be similar to the one he had ‘lost’.   Mr. Cansian was then to find more than he could possibly hope for.
In April 2007, it was through google search for ‘NJ martial art schools’ that Mr. Cansian discovered the location of the NJ Aiikaikai & Budokan.  Already having knowledge of the school and Sensei’s reputation, Mr. Cansian immediately requested that he be allowed to train at the dojo.
Disregarding rank held previously, Mr. Cansian wore his white belt and once again resumed serious training. With time, hard work, effort, several lessons in humility, and guidance from his superiors, Mr. Cansian was awarded not only the rank of ‘sempai’ (advanced student) with the Tenshin Ryu Kenjutsu curriculum in August 2013, but also attained  ‘Shodan’ (black belt) in October 2013.
Mr. Cansian continues to train under Conti Sensei through a weekly class and privately.  In addition Mr. Cansian also attends weekly Thursday ‘sword class’ while teaching standard class Tuesday evenings
Mr. Cansian is a professional musician with over 20 years experience.  He teaches bass & guitar through Skype at www.brokentreemusic.com, and is a freelance musician.  Currently he resides in Edison, NJ with his fiancé.