The start of the journey
Andrew first commenced Martial Arts training in Taekwondo and boxing in 1978. As he grew as a martial artist he sought out the best fighters, most intense training and fiercest competition. He chalked up an impressive competition record.
Experimenting with other forms
Soon after gaining his Black Belt and realising the short comings and limitations in Taekwondo (as with all systems of fighting) Andrew started to fill in the gaps with Judo and other grappling systems. So even as early as the mid 80s Andrew was experimenting with the idea of unrestricted sparring, that included kicking, punching, throwing and ground fighting. This was a difficult time as there were few takers that actually wanted to participate in this robust but very effective form of free fighting.
Black Belt in Japan
Andrew searched for schools that remained silent yet carried a powerful message. Training in the Tenjin Shinyo Ryu School of Ju Jutsu (one of the founding arts of Judo) was a good start. It was run by a small group of dedicated Instructors simply passing on the teachings best they could of the current Head Master Kubota Sensei. Andrew trained for some years eventually grading to Black Belt in Japan.
Tenjin Shin yo Ryu Ju Jitsu
In 1988 Andrew already with extensive experience in Taewkondo. Kickboxing and boxing, and a black belt in Tenjin Shin yo Ryu Ju Jitsu, turned his back on his competitive fighting, sold up and moved to Japan. He became the first non-Japanese student to be accepted by Kondo Sensei. Andrew received 12 months of intensive instruction directly from Kondo Sensei. The training included many hours of intense personal tuition by Kondo Sensei and the top Daito Ryu Instructors. It was through the sometimes brutal and unforgiving training in Daito Ryu, so obscure and unknown, yet famous as the founding martial art of Aikido, that was to re shape the course of Andrew Dickinson’s training and path in Martial Arts.
In Kondo Sensei and the Daito Ryu, Andrew had found an incredibly pure and effective system of martial arts and was extremely privileged to be a part of the system opening up to the west. For 12 intensive months Andrew felt the unforgiving ferocity of Kondo Sensei as he peaked as a true master of martial arts. The training in Daito Ryu was simple yet profound. Against much initial resistance Andrew had to forget all that he had already gained and learned. Within this humbling experience Andrew felt the fire of the Martial spirit. He indulged fully and took his training back to the beginning. Andrew rebuilt a rock solid foundation in martial arts based on several very simple yet distinct principles, without which, any martial arts technique would not be effective. These principles were in many respects the missing links in his physical development.
Synthesising everything into something new and more effective
With the new grounding and understanding he had learnt from Daito Ryu Andrew re-applied his extensive knowledge of striking and grappling systems onto a now much stronger base. Over the next number of years, still maintaining his link to Japan, Andrew continued to fine tune and fill the gaps in every aspect of his own training. His striking system of fighting became so effective that many believed that that was all he had, so few ever got through the extensive kicking range that they never experienced the close-in fighting and grappling. Testing his system of fighting worldwide, Andrew was able to set strategies to beat other martial arts by moving in between the lines of their technique and unbalancing them with simple movements outside the realm of their usual fighting strategies. He quickly realised the weakness of his opponent and changed his strategy, merging techniques from several systems within a breadth of one movement. In his studies he made the simple discovery that many martial artists knew many techniques and systems but very few could synthesise them to a simple and workable model then turn the skills back on their own system.
The Birth of Northstar Ju Jistu
Andrew founded Northstar Ju Jitsu in 1992 to pass on what has learned. He has always been a teacher. He is one of those rare individuals that not only has the skills but can also empower and motivate any group, encouraging the personal best of each individual. The aim of Northstar is to teach immediate and practical fighting skills that can be learned, assimilated and used quickly and immediately by men and women of all ages.
Visit Andy’s school Northstar Martial Arts to see these ideas manifested in a programs for all ages and abilities.