Valley Martial Arts Academy teaches modern forms of self defense

Valley Martial Arts Academy kicks basic karate concepts by teaching self defense and fighting skills with modern hand-to-hand combat.

Daniel C. Goldfarb, owner and head instructor, of the martial arts academy at 9419 E. San Salvador Road, Suite 103 in Scottsdale, incorporates character building and meditative qualities of traditional martial arts.

People of all ages can enjoy and benefit from tactical and practical applications taught in the classes designed for realistic self defense situations.

Sensai Goldfarb, a Scottsdale resident of 30 years, is no more a stranger to the martial arts as he is in the community. He attended Laguna Elementary, Mountainside Middle School and Desert Mountain High School.

He and his wife, Kerry, are raising their five-year-old son, Jacob, in the community as well. In 2016, he accomplished his long-time dream of opening his own martial arts studio in Scottsdale.

Let him tell you about his studio and give you a tour of Valley Martial Arts Academy below.

*What is your training/when and how did you start Valley Martial Arts Academy?
I began martial arts training at the age of six at the Boys and Girls Club and continued classes there until I was 14 years old. I became involved in the system of Shaolin Kempo Karate at 18, directly after high school.

Inspired by my love of Kung Fu movies, in which many of the “Great Master” characters are also herbal medicine doctors and acupuncturists, I studied and got my master’s degree in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine.

My schooling for traditional Chinese medicine also included training in Chinese Qi Gong (breathing and energy exercises) and Tai Chi. While attending school, I was also introduced to a Buddhist master from whom I received training and teaching authorization in Zen- meditation, Qi Gong, Buddhist Yoga and various healing and wellness practices.

Besides training in Kempo Karate for the past 19 years, I have also trained in Aikido, Japanese Sword, Krav Maga, Jujutsu and Shaolin Kung Fu. I knew right from the beginning of my Kempo training that I wanted to be an instructor.

Martial arts was not just a hobby or past time for me, it was an obsession. I would read martial arts books, watch martial arts movies, train five days a week. I first began teaching at my instructor’s studio and then finally opened my own.

*What style of karate and what classes do you offer at VMAA?
I often refer to Kempo Karate as the original mixed martial art. It combines elements of Japanese Karate, Chinese Kung Fu, Western Boxing, Jujutsu and Korean Arts.

Much of this integration of various arts occurred in Hawaii, in the 1920s, where Asian-Americans with family traditions of these arts had to use them for the first time in real, street defense situations. If there is a fighting application that works, it has been incorporated into Kempo.

VMAA teaches a modified, highly practical form of Kempo Karate stemming from the system of Shaolin Kempo Karate. Our art teaches five ways of self defense: striking, kicking, grappling, felling and psychological defense. I also incorporate Qi Gong (traditional Chinese meditative breathing exercises) and seated meditation into my regular curriculum.

*What do you like about running your own studio?
There are many things I love about running my own studio. It allows me the freedom to teach according to what I feel is most beneficial for students. It is the most wonderful feeling to watch both the kids and adults I am teaching change and grow into stronger, happier and more confident individuals.

*What would you tell parents who are considering enrolling their child in martial arts?
Martial arts is not just about fighting. It instills in the practitioners a sense of self-worth, confidence and fortitude that is sorely lacking in modern society, especially among children. Martial arts teaches kids how to defend themselves and keep themselves safe while at the same time cultivating compassion and self-control.

*What qualities/traits do you emphasize in your kids’ class and do you see any changes in children after they’ve taken classes for awhile?
Our kids’ classes focus on fitness, self-control, self-discipline, respect, self-defense and personal safety.

Character building is a cornerstone of the martial arts experience. I expect the kids to be polite, to answer questions with confidence and put a full effort into each class. Students are also taught respect – respect for the art, respect for their parents and respect for the differences of others.

I often notice dramatic changes in children who attend class regularly, especially in those kids who were unsure of themselves or shy when they first started. Kids who are more outgoing but may lack restraint often develop greater self-control and poise.

*What would you tell adults who are considering signing up for the adults class?
Adult students are most often looking for real, usable, reality-based self-defense skills. They are also interested in reducing stress, improving fitness and gaining greater confidence, clarity and focus. Our adults martial arts program offers all of these things.

For more information, go to: Or call: 480-659-9506; email:

Editor’s note: Sasha Graham is a professional writer in the Phoenix Metropolitan area.

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