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  • Rusty Ferguson, Nackord Karate System Testimonials

    I've cherished the times Mr. Nackord has shared his concepts with me over the years. His teaching methods are deeply profound, analytical & direct to the point. All of his mastery is pleasantly masked as a genuine gentleman teacher that projects a far more valuable in essence than the typical alpha male fear factor projected by "masters & tuff guys". Arguably among the very best real martial arts masters alive in the world today in my humble opinion.

    Sincerely, respectfully submitted,

    Rusty Ferguson

    Rusty Ferguson
  • Jim Beale, Nackord Karate System Testimonials

    Mr. Nackord is one of the best in the world. I train here and am constantly impressed by the knowledge and skills of the many black belts Mr. Nackord has promoted in his career.

    Jim Beale
  • Dennis Mariano, Nackord Karate System Testimonials

    Mr. Nackord's more than 5 decades of experience and amazing connections to many great martial artist has given him the wisdom that is unmatched.

    I loved training with him when his school was located in King of Prussia. He has given me many opportunities to be inspired as he taught his classes with great passion for the martial arts.

    The principles that he and his assistant, Mr. Jon VanCleve have stayed with me to this day. I look forward to resuming my training in the near future

    Dr. Dennis M. Mariano - Mariano Holistic Life Center, Inc.

    Dennis Mariano
  • I have been training in the Nackord Karate System for 7 years. There are so many things I could say, I didn't know where to begin as I started to write this. My thoughts kept returning to my appreciation of all the elements that combine to make learning here so valuable to me - and not only for me, but also for what I contribute back as a result of how I've grown on many levels as I continue my participation. Having the opportunity to teach the system has unexpectedly been a great learning experience. As a NKS black belt, I have become a part of an amazing lineage, a true living history. It is an honor to be a part of its future as well! Thank you NKS, for so many things 

  • There are a lot of things I could say about the Nackord Karate System school and Mr. Nackord but the two most important things to me are the level of instruction and the level of family at the school. I've been attending for nearly 15 years and in that time I've talked to numerous people outside the school regarding the martial arts and when I talk about how Mr. Nackord will breakdown a punch or a kick or discuss position and angle people look at me kind of funny since they never have been taught that level of detail even at advanced levels. I have also made many close friends here at the NKS. Even if I don't see someone for some time or I can't attend for a while, I always feel at home stepping back onto that floor - and Mr. Nackord always sees to that. If I ever need help at home or to move there are always at least 4-5 Nackord guys there helping out. I've had a few bruises over the years, but also lots of good times and life lessons.

  • When I moved to the East Coast in August of 2001, I had already been training in other martial arts systems for about 16 years. As luck would have it, the first school I evaluated was Nackord Karate. After watching a couple of classes, I quickly realized that Mr. Nackord would have a lot to offer me as a teacher. I have now been training with him longer than with any of my prior instructors. By joining the school, I joined a family and over the years have built up many strong friendships. Joining the school was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

    Sanj Surati
  • I came to Nackord Karate from another studio which had closed down. I was a bit uneasy as I was a green belt at the time and had been a part of a small, close-knit studio for the last several years - sort of like the new kid on the first day of school. When I called up to inquire about how the process of transferring between schools should work, Mr. Nackord answered the phone. An hour later I felt like I was on the path to finding a new Kenpo home. The staff and members of the studio couldn’t have been more welcoming. Everywhere I turned someone was more than willing to answer my questions or help me fine-tune my techniques. It’s not unusual to have multiple black belts in the adult class, all of whom are more than willing to help the lower rank members improve on their skill set. Throw in the kids' classes and after-school programs and the studio really does take on a family-type quality. I couldn’t be happier with the turn of events that brought me to Nackord Karate.

    Jim MacKenzie
  • I am proud to be a student at Nackord Karate. At the age of 52, when I mustered the courage to move from the state of only watching my son participate in the classes to becoming a student, I never envisioned that at 56, I would be able to perform the Kenpo art as I do today. Although I am still every bit of a novice, and notwithstanding the limits of my body, I can now demonstrate the fundamentals of kicking, punching, footwork, self defense techniques and other facets of the Kenpo art deemed important to self development. Without any prior experience, I walked onto the floor and submitted myself to the expertise of the instructors, and it is the quality of these instructors that has sustained me through the 4 years.

    The overarching reason for staying with the program has been the respect the instructors have for the student. The instructors have an incredible capacity to approach a beginner who wears the white belt, with the same attitude, tone, and expectation as with a Black Belt. I will never forget my first week when an instructor was teaching a front kick, and his personal critique of my kick was provided to me precisely in the same tone that he used when critiquing the Black Belt at the other end of the line. The consistent characteristic of each of the teachers is their relentless mission to make sure that every important detail of the strike, or block, or stance is done correctly. Their commitment to making sure that the student performs well is accompanied by a unwavering amount of patience. Without these attributes, I would probably be back on a treadmill or plodding around Wilson Park.

    Mr. Nackord has established a culture that centers around a mutual respect between teacher and student. I see it in the respect that his teachers have for him, and I see it in the respect that the teachers show the youngest to the oldest students. As a student, if you show up for class with the commitment to work hard, listen, and just try what the teacher is suggesting, you cannot help to improve and progress through the program.

    Thank you.

    Hugh Caplan
  • There is a teaching ethic in this school. Though black belts exclusively run class sessions, people at all belt levels help each other to improve. As every seasoned instructor knows, teaching others is one of the best ways to grow.

    Surprisingly, kickboxing and sparring classes are helping me learn how to fight in non-physical ways. When things heat up, and my husband or boss or colleagues come at me with demands or disagreements, I'm starting to understand how to fend for myself. NKS training is showing me options I never imagined and never realized would translate into the context of verbal, political clashes.

    Jean Labriola Scholz
  • Mr Nackord, I have long wanted to express my gratitude to you and Jon Vancleve for what Nackord Karate has done for me and my family. If your studio were not available at the time of my divorce I am not sure where we might be now, six years later. The situation as in many broken families was not good.

    However, I am proud to say that today I have two very happy children who as you know participate in Karate 3 to 4 times per week along with me. We train each week at the same time--Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. My daughter is in the junior program and my son has graduated to the adult program and there are convenient classes when we can all train in the same time slot. This has allowed us to get in tremendous shape and have a martial art that bonds us together in everything we do.

    Through your school, my children have also been involved with tremendous role models. They have made many great and lasting friendships that have even continued outside the Karate studio walls. This is really much like extended family to us now.

    One more thing regarding other sports: karate has developed their hand-eye coordination so much so that my children, while not tremendously athletic, have excelled in football, softball, baseball, and wrestling.

    Most of all, though, Nackord Karate has helped to developed my children into polite, confident, and well-disciplined young people. I hear it from other adults and teachers on a regular basis. When asked what set of parenting skills I used to get these results, I always say the same thing. "Just sign them up at Nackord Karate."

    Mike Lorine
  • For those of us who are just a bit more mature in years, staying active and healthy is crucial – karate was my choice to accomplish that issue.

    The instructors at the Nackord school are open, knowledgeable, and inspiring - regardless of the size of the class – with lots of Black Belt students in attendance to support and share their expertise with lower ranked belts … it’s a wonderful way to learn this particular martial art.

    My class attendance sometimes gets way-laid by my intense work schedule, yet whenever my return to class comes up I am able to walk in as if I hadn’t missed a beat …………… it’s the way the Nackord system of teaching is set up -- and it’s the best choice I have ever made and the most positive atmosphere I have ever been in, by far!

    Mary Lee Botsaris
  • As a parent of two collegiate athletes, and an individual with a lifelong devotion to karate, kickboxing, and yoga, I have been involved and associated with many forms of fitness-related classes and been exposed to a great variety of instructors. What sets Nackord Karate apart from the "herd" is an infectious quality I will try to verbalize - a quality which is present in Mr. Nackord and in all of his instructors. Every individual associated with the studio has the ability to impart kindness, understanding, and empathy to their students, while never compromising an ability to deliver an unparalleled level of karate knowledge and skill instruction. In my mind, that is true Motivation.

    Shawn Palladino
  • Thank you for creating a school that offers personal and professional training in the Martial Arts. I was pleasantly surprised to find instructors who truly cared and respected their students. I NEVER felt alone or invisible when taking any classes.

    Each student is given personal attention when needed and challenged to their own level. Even the students are warm and take interest in helping me!

    It is without any hesitation that I recommend Nackord Karate.

    Jo-Ann T. Hernandez
  • I have been involved with American Kenpo for 11 years and have had the good fortune of studying under top instructors on both coasts. I've seen different Kenpo studios, each with their own area of focus, specialty, or intensity.

    Nackord Karate is a blend of some of the best elements that karate schools have to offer: competent instructors, a welcoming atmosphere, the right level of intensity, and (for me) a substantial number of adult students of all levels with whom to work.

    Just want to get in shape? Sure, you can jog around a track and get in shape.or you can join Nackord Karate and acquire something meaningful and useful while getting in shape. The brilliant Kenpo system is adaptable to anybody and beginners will learn practical techniques in their first few months. It's never too late to start!

    For practical application of the martial arts, fighting (sparring) is extremely helpful. Through Mr. Nackord's Motion Science, the principles of sparring and the invaluable skills gained from it are something you carry with you on the street and beyond. There's simply no better place to learn it than in the Nackord studio.

    SS 3rd Brown
  • Deciding how to get started in martial arts was the tough decision for me. I had always been interested in learning martial arts but I just wasn't sure how to choose a school and get started. But one day I decided to walk into Nackord Kenpo Karate and learn about their programs--today was the day to try karate.

    That was the best life decision I could have made and it has been paying off ever since. I was very impressed with the way Nackord Kenpo Karate provides professional and supportive attention and coaching to students, especially new students. This personal attention makes it easy to get started and gives you immediate confidence in your program and instructors. Martial arts at Nackord Kenpo Karate not only teaches you the physical moves and principles but allows you time to be introspective and learn more about your mind, motivations, and goals.

    If you have always wanted to learn martial arts, or are bored with your workouts or weights, come to Nackord Kenpo Karate and get started!

    Donald A. Wildauer
  • The first grappling class I attended was great and I can’t wait to attend again. Adding the basics of grappling and ground fighting to the already formidable NKKS arsenal really “completes the circle”.

    As a matter of fact, the changes in curriculum you’ve made since I joined the school have all been immediately beneficial to the students—from the re-structuring of techniques into sub-sections of five, to the addition of dedicated sparring and kata classes, to the recent grappling sessions—the training just gets more complete and the students more well-rounded.

  • It is hard for me to put into words all of the things that I have gotten out of taking classes at Nackord Kenpo Karate. When I first started, I had a lot of fears about learning karate and I had a lot of assumptions. I had always thought it looked so amazing and cool. I didn't want to walk in there and mess it up! I was sure I'd look something like a dancing hippo in comparison to the graceful and coordinated movements of the black belts. I was also afraid that I wouldn't be tough enough--that I'd be publicly humiliated at the first request to drop and give 'em 20 (push-ups).

    But the thing is, this is not that kind of place. This is the kind of place where you get back what you give. The instructors are extremely knowledgeable and patient. I've never been made to feel incompetent or put down because I don't know something. On the contrary, I am often inspired to push myself far beyond what I thought I was capable of because I want to be as good as they are. Every instructor at the school is passionate about their training and is there because they want to share what they know. They are all amazing and I feel so incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to train with each of them.

    Truthfully, I think the instructors and the students come to the school for the same reason--we all want to be better today than we were yesterday. And my training has taught me that the path to doing that lies in everyday practice--it's about the process, not necessarily the end result. It doesn't matter what belt I am or if I have a perfect spinning back knuckle--no matter how good I become, there will always be those who are better. My goal is not to be the best--it's just to get better every day. And that is my favorite thing about coming to karate--every class is a chance to learn something new, or to make something I already know a little bit better. It's not just a work out, it's an opportunity for continuous improvement. Starting Nackord Kenpo Karate has been one of the best decisions I've ever made!

    Jennifer Whitmore
  • A few months ago, I set out to learn self-defense with nothing but the faintest idea of what I was looking for. While I looked at several different establishments, Mr. Nackord’s stood out from the beginning. From the start, I felt a member of the family. I was given two, one-on-one lessons as soon as I joined so that I had some idea what I was doing when it came time to start the group classes. I was amazed that everyone in the classes was not only willing but also eager to help me out with anything and everything. I never found myself lacking a partner when it came time for drills; in fact, several different people often sought me out!

    There are so many things that I love about taking karate under Mr. Nackord that I couldn’t possible cover them all here, so I will just give the highlights. For starters, compared to the other marital arts establishments that I looked at, his is quite large. While at first I was a bit worried about this, today I wouldn’t have it any other way. They have classes almost every day, which is wonderful, and they have enough new blood joining all the time that before you know it you will be the one answering questions! I also love Mr. Nackord’s approach--he teaches real world self-defense that, while not always pretty is always brutally effective. Also, In addition to learning karate, I have been getting a fantastic work-out. In just three months, I have gotten in better shape than I did while working at a gym for two years.

    By far though, the thing that I love the most is what it does to my stress levels. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to coming to a lesson after a stressful day. During the lesson, I have no time to think about my problems and by the end, I am to tired to do so, and go home really refreshed and ready to take on a new day.

    If you have any questions I highly recommend you call Mr. Nackord; he is always more than happy to help. If you still aren’t sure, try giving it a test drive for a month. Honestly, the price really isn’t that much when you consider what you are getting access too. Personally, I think that it is a very small investment considering what you are getting in return.

  • I had been a student of Mr. Nackord and his system (along with my children) for years until illness forced me to withdraw. I am a physician and have worked in this area for over 20 years. Reaching for excellence in your field, one can often lose the forest for the trees. Not only did the training I received help me to be in shape while having fun but it also helped me to bond with my children. Of greatest importance, however was the way this training helped to change my perspective. No greater gift can one receive than the ability to look at life in a whole different way. Aside from the physical aspects, learning a new philosophy and a new way of looking at life was a great and cherished gift. Clearly, you only get out of a system such as this as much as you decide to put in. Given dedication and committment there are no limits beyond your grasp with the guidence of a system and team such as Nackord's.

    Steve Fox
  • When our neighborhood karate school closed a few years ago, we needed to find another school where our four kids could continue their training. After visiting several schools we were told about Nackord Karate. It wasn’t the closest school for us, but after meeting the staff and seeing the facility, the choice was easy. We are more than pleased with the results our kids have shown in their karate skills and their personal growth. The staff works very closely with each of them, sets goals based on individual progress, and is nothing but positive. It’s a great feeling to see my kids come off the floor breathing hard, sweaty, red in the face, and proud to be where they are…

    Bob Dorais
  • I often say to friends, my family, and myself that joining the Nackord Kenpo Karate System was one of the best decisions I ever made. I came to the school wanting to learn how to defend myself and also with the hopes of getting into better physical shape from the workouts. What I have gained is so much more than I could have ever hoped for! Mr. Nackord, Jon VanCleve, and the rest of the instructors made me feel very comfortable during my first few classes. Since then, I have gained immense confidence in my ability to defend myself, I have definitely improved my health and well being through the workouts, and I have never felt more focused and driven in my life.

    There is also one remarkable benefit that I did not anticipate, and that is having the opportunity to be a part of the wonderful community at our school. I have met so many great people at the school, people of all ages, and we have formed strong friendships. It truly is an amazing thing to be able to share your training with others who love it just as much as you do.

    The best part of all? There is and always will be so much to learn, and I look forward to each and every visit to the school. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the NKKS. It will be a part of me for the rest of my life.

    Kate Davidson
  • Several years ago I began martial arts for reasons I suspect most students begin--to learn self defense. Now, as a black belt, I am better equipped to defend myself, but karate has become much more than that. It is a way of life. By working hard to achieve a personal goal, I have received multiple rewards that initially were not considered. The time spent with Dennis Nackord, Jon Van Cleve, the other instructors, and fellow students has strengthened my life emotionally, socially, physiologically, and intellectually. It is also my belief that the experiences at Nackord Karate have also allowed me to contribute in some positive way to others, perhaps by being a better husband, father, friend, and community servant. But the greatest benefit is that the journey into martial arts is not an end to be reached; it can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

  • As a brand new student of Karate (and I am well into my 50's) I must say my experience with classes, as well as the friendly and efficient staff, at the Nackord School has been extraordinary. The lessons themselves are so beneficial for all sorts of health reasons - core strength, balance, focus & attention, agility, and just the pure and simple act of doing something out of the norm to shake up, perhaps, a dreary routine that sets into day-to-day life to achieve our Personal Best.

    I am thrilled to be learning something new that involves such wonderful activity in such a professional and congenial surrounding - and that's the Nackord Karate School!

    Mary Lee Botsaris
  • As a student of the martial arts I want to first mention that I have had several instructors over the years. When I joined the Nackord Karate System on July 1, 1987 it was the first time an instructor took the time NOT to brag about what he or his school could do. Mr. Nackord wanted to know what I had done, where as well as why I had trained and for how long. After I had joined the school Mr. Nackord was constantly prompting me to not only think about what the system offered but to also set goals, get focused on what I needed for my next level, and be flexible not only physically but mentally and emotionally. He also insisted that I should be involved with teaching which as it turned out made me a better student of the martial arts. These same training aspects have over time rolled over into my career, which in turn has helped me to be successful in my professional life--I am always a student learning new ideas and trying different things to be better at serving my clients and their needs.

    John Bahn
  • All my life I was active with soft ball, tennis, bowling, etc. Then for about 5 years I did nothing. I started to feel like I was letting myself get old. I felt out of shape and I also started to feel vulnerable, which worried me the most. I was approaching my 50th birthday and I decided to do something about it. So I gave myself a birthday gift. I joined the NKKS. It was the best gift I could have ever given myself. It's been nine years now and feel great, I have my confidence back and along the way I've met some great people. Training under Dennis Nackord and John Van Cleve has been a great experience. You couldn't ask for anyone better to train under. I plan on continuing my training for the rest of my life.

    Ernie DiDonato
  • My first contact with Nackord Karate was through an email I had sent to Mr. Nackord. I had always had an interest in the martial arts, but at a weight of 510 lbs I was afraid of trying. I was on the school's website and decided that if I didn't ask, the answer would always be "No." So I explained my interest in Kenpo and my concern about my weight. To my surprise, Mr. Nackord didn't seem to mind. He told me to give him a call. So I did.

    That was 3 years ago. When I first walked through the doors I felt that I belonged there. Mr. Nackord and Mr. Van Cleve never made me feel like I shouldn't be there. Then in July, 2004 I underwent gastric bypass surgery, and since that time Nackord Karate has been a huge part of my recovery. I fully believe that if I hadn't been a student there prior to my surgery I wouldn't have had the focus or the drive to be as successful as I've been.

    Mike Borders
  • My experience at Nackord Karate has been nothing short of AMAZING. I had wanted to pursue training in the marital arts for several years, but never really had the time until I graduated from college. I contacted Dennis Nackord and came in to talk with him one night. We spoke for about 30 minutes on a variety of topics and I remember how at ease he made me feel about exploring the martial arts. I was instantly sold on his philosophy and passion for the art.

    More then 4 years later I still look forward to every class and have never once felt uncomfortable or unappreciated in any class I've taken. The atmosphere is friendly, encouraging, and conducive to learning. The instructors are patient and eager to help any student. I can honestly say that the attitude and teaching abilities of Mr. Nackord and the school's head instructor, Jon Van Cleve, are the driving reason to why I have grown to love the martial arts.

    For anyone who is thinking about starting in the martial arts, or tried it before and stopped, or anyone looking for a fun, intensive workout, there is no better place you could possibly choose then Nackord Karate.

    Jim McClelland
  • Three years ago, I wanted to find a workout to stay in shape but could not find what I liked.

    A friend recommended your school for my two sons. After they joined your karate school, my daughter suggested kickboxing for me.

    I am a very feminine woman and I never thought I could do this intense sport, but I started kickboxing two years ago and I love it. I cannot stop.

    I just want to let you know that we love your school; your instructors are very good and your teaching has been a tremendous benefit to our life. We enjoy the sport very much and I want to thank you.

    "Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." ~ Henry Ford ~

  • As a one of your current martial arts black belt students who has been training with you since 1983, I want to thank you for the all the benefits martial arts training has provided me and my 16 year old son who is also a NKKS black belt student.

    Studying Kenpo Karate has helped keep me mentally and physically healthy, confident in my ability to defend myself, and motivated toward self-improvement.

    The greatest gift has been the ability to mentally focus and be "in the moment". This is a skill I put to work every day.

    Best wishes for continued success

    Stephen G. Pellegrini
  • My children started taking lessons with the Nackord Kenpo Karate System over ten years ago. Several years after they started I decided to take lessons also. Not only has the NKKS been extremely beneficial and enjoyable for them and me individually, but it has been wonderful as an activity that we can do together on a regular basis. There are not many things that you can start with your child at a young age and continue doing through their teen years and beyond. We all receive great training and get to spend quality time together while at the studio and when we practice at home. The NKKS has been an important tool in keeping my relationship with my children as good as it has been and continues to be. Moreover, while we have fun together, we have been able to learn self-defense and fighting skills and we've gotten into good physical shape.

    Marc Padovani
  • My two oldest children started with the Nackord Kenpo Karate System at the same time, when they were six and four. A few years later my youngest started shortly before his fourth birthday. Initially, karate was just a fun activity, but soon they realized how much they enjoyed it and how much they were learning. It is now over ten years later and they still come regularly every week--and they continue to learn. More importantly, it has become a valuable part of their lives in many ways. It gave them a strong sense of self-confidence, it reinforced their respect for themselves and for others; it has helped mature their social skills (around adults as well as children), and it has been instrumental in them achieving and maintaining a high level of physical fitness.

    From a practical level, the martial training has even helped them in conflict situations. First and foremost, they are comfortable enough to not feel that they have to engage in a fight. But even when that has not been the case, the training has paid off. One particular example occurred when my oldest was about 10 years old. He was playing with his brothers and several friends when a bully started harassing him. I happened to be in the area at the time so I was able to watch the situation unfold. The bully, who was significantly bigger than my son, pushed him several times. My son told him stop each time, but the bully ignored him. Finally, as the bully attempted to push him one more time, my son effortlessly grabbed his hand, put him in an arm-bar, brought him to his knees, and told him, "I told you to stop. OK?" The bully immediately apologized, saying that he was only kidding, and the incident was over. So, because of his training, my son was able to handle a situation that would not end otherwise--without resorting to hitting or hurting.

    I recommend the NKKS to children of any age and sex (as well as to adults). It is great training, it builds self-confidence, respect, and physical well-being, and it gives valuable training for potentially troublesome situations.

  • I started with the Nackord Kenpo Karate System at a time in my life when I was going through difficult family-related issues. My original intent was to take karate for a while to relieve stress through physical exertion, while at the same time get back in shape and fill a temporary activity void in my life.

    From a perspective of those initial goals, the NKKS was a resounding success. I was able to reduce the stress, which in turn helped me successfully work through my external issues. I also returned to a level of physical fitness that I had not felt in many years, and in many ways surpassed it. Finally, soon after starting, I found that I looked forward to working out at the NKKS, to being with new-found friends, and to continually make progress in my training.

    Today, almost eight years after starting, I am still an regular there. The more I've trained, the more I realize how good the program and the instructors are from a martial arts perspective. Mr. Nackord has incredible skill in many different aspects of martial arts and is very adept at conveying those skills to his students. Moreover, he has a large staff of instructors (led by another excellent martial artist and teacher, Jon Van Cleve), all of whom are skilled as practitioners and trainers, so that virtually every class has several people helping at once (both children's and adults' classes).

    And, as importantly, in these years I have also found many more levels at which the NKKS has contributed to my life. It continues to be an anchor for physical and emotional stability; it is a fun place to work out; and I continue to make good friends there.

    I recommend the NKKS to anybody--from four years old to eighty years old--who wants to improve his or her well-being, learn self-defense and fighting skills, and add an enjoyable activity to his or her life.

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