The International Combat Systema Association is honored to include Sensei Sali Azem as our Laconia branch representative and as our Director of New England Operations. Sensei Azem has over 45 years of traditional Okinawan/Japanese martial arts training. Beginning his training in 1965, he has taught continuously since 1974 (after 9 years of training and mentorship, with 4 years as a student and 5 years as an assistant instructor). Sali began his martial art training in 1965. Extensively trained in a diverse array of arts, Sensei Azem holds the following ranks:

-Kudan, Hanshi Grade-Uchina Machimura Suide Seido-Ha Karate-jitsu and Kobu-jitsu
-Nanadan, Kyoshi Grade-Matsumure Shorinryu Kenshinkan Karate Kobudo Federation
-Nidan-Shorinryu Matsumure Orthodox Karate Association of Okinawa (SMOKA)
-Godan, Shihan Grade-Japanese Motobu-Ha Shitoryu Karate-Do
-Godan, Renshi Grade-Okinawan/Japanese Kogaryu Kobu-jitsu and Omoriryu/Mungairyu Iai-jitsu
-Godan, Renshi Grade-Okinawa/Fukien Pangainoon Kempo-jitsu (known on Okinawa as Uechiryu)
-Yondan, Shidoin-Shibucho-Okinawa Kiyatake-Ha Shorinjiryu Karate-Do
-Certified Police Defensive Tactics Instructor-All Okinawan Shorinryu Karate Association
-Hachidan, Zenkoku Shibucho-Karate-Budokan International of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
-Yondan, Shidoin Grade-Japanese Hakkoryu Ju-Jutsu
-Godan, Shihan Grade-Nippon So Ju-Jutsu
-Yondan, Renshi Grade-Nippon So Ju-Jutsu
-Yondan, Renshi Grade-Nippon Katsu-Ryu Kempo
-Northern NH Commissioner-Lanada "Al-Kabrong" Arnis de Mano Kali Escrima of the Philippines
-Shodan-Japanese Kodokan Judo
-Shodan-Korean Taekwon-Do
-Certified Koho-Igaku Shiatsu Practitioner (Healing System of Japanese Hakkoryu Ju-Jutsu)
-Master's Certification in Chinese Herbal Medicine
-Certified Practitoner of the Karma Cholin Secular Shambala Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism
-Former Practitioner of the Strict Orthodox Iyangar Style Yoga of India
-Practitioner of Chen-Min Chang Family Tai-Chi Chuan (as taught by T.T. Lian of Boston)
-Gray Sash in Fukanese Foo Jowel Pai Gung-Fu (Taiwan Branch)

Sali was introduced to boxing and trained under former Golden Gloves champion Sonny Bava. After the boxing program ended, Sali began training in Kodokan Judo under the tutelage of Master-Chief Gunners Mate Jim Thornhill who attained the rank of Yondan certified by the Kodokan while stationed in Japan. Jim taught classes at the local Naval Reserve Center. Sali reached the rank of Shodan, shortly after the Judo club closed due to Jim being shipped out to Southeast Asia.

The next option that became available was a local Okinawan Karate School. This was the time when you could count the number of Karate Schools in New England on both hands and have a few fingers left over. The martial tradition taught at this school was Okinawan Uechiryu Karate-Do (also known as Fukien Pangainoon). This school was patronized by a group of ex-military personnel from WWII Asian Theater, Korea and the then "new" police action that was brewing in Vietnam. There were no women or children permitted in the school which was common in most of the Karate Schools during the 50's and 60's. Sali was the youngest student there and had to run with the "big dogs or stay on the porch". The wisdom and inspirational experience gained under the support and direct tutelage of this group of seasoned combat veterans was immeasurable. The lessons provided a path to develop strength and fortitude mixed with a healhty dose of compassion and empathy. The fires then lit have yet to be diminished.

Sali has served as the New England Representative for the National Karate Ju-Jutsu Union, Northeast Representative and testing board Chairman for the Karate-Budokan International, Certified AAIU Karate Program Referee and Coach, as well as a referee for the Karate-Referee Association of New England. He also served as a Chartered School representing the Hakkoryu Martial Art Federation as well as the commissioner for Arnis Lanada Pilipino Martial Arts Association in Northern New England. 

Sali achieved his first-degree black belt in conjunction with his enlistment in the United States Navy where he served as a Hospital Corpsman until his honorable discharge 6 years later. His time in military service provided him with a profoundly viable conduit to feed his healthy addiciton to martial arts training. Sali's interest in the subject area was driven by his quest to search for the orthodox methods of Okinawan, Japanese and Chinese pugilism. Kata for aesthetic purposes or tournament games of "tag" were of no interest to him. Understanding the fundamental truth behind the concepts and theories taught has led him to a 30-year quest of exhaustive research. An underrstanding of the shifting politics, historical events, military excursions, the profile of troop conscripts in conjuction with religious conflicts, legal postures, superstitions and mysticism were crucial to his journey resulting in a 350-page manuscript on the subject which he has yet to publish. The fairy tales, fables, and favorable stories commonly expounded gave way to the reality of the seedy, underground world of cults, criminals, terrorist gangs as well as mercenaries, soldiers of fortune and bodyguards where the truth of the pugilist world was found.

Sali's professional career included the provision of academic, education and guidance to emotionally-handicapped adolescents in both the private and public educational settings. Sali also worked as a family counselor/mediator, substance abuse counselor and domestic violence batterer intervention program while acting as an advocate and crisis interventionist.

His career path led to serving the best interest of children living with conflicted families as he provided court ordered guardian ad litem investigations for Family, Superiror, District and Probate Court. As a private investigator, Sali has had the opportunity to investigate fraud and white color espionage cases along with criminal defense and domestic stalking investigations. In addition to provding fugitive recovery and bail enforcement services, Sali has provided armed executive protection services to Fortune 500 executives, Members of the Saudi Royal Family and national celebrities. Sali has served on the board of the New Hampshire League of Investigators, New Beginnings, A Woman's Crisis Center as well as the NH Mediation Program. 

Additonal academic and training certifications include:

-NH Licensed Private Detective -- NH Department of Safety
-NH Licensed Security Guard -- NH Department of Safety
-Certifying Officer III Adjudicator Certification -- NH Department of Employment Security
-NH Appointed Justice of the Peace and Notary Public --NH Governor's Office
-Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Accounting -- American College of Forensic Examiners
-Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Counseling -- American College of Forensic Examiners
-Body Guard Defensive/Offensive Driving Certification -- BAR of West Virginia
-Basic Pistol and Personal Protection Certification --NRA Firearm Training Program
-Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Concealed Carry Certification --Sigarms Academy
-Certified Stalker Investigator --Dover Police Department and US Secret Service Boston Office
-Certified Domestic Stalker Certification -- Executive Security International
-Certified Protection Specialist --International Fellowship of Protection Officers
-Certified Personal Protection Specialist --Executive Protection Institute
-Certificate in Personal Protection -Oatman Personal Protection Institute
-Certificate in Speed Handcuffing -National Institute of Bail Enforcement
-Certified Fugitive Recovery Agent - National Institute of Bail Enforcement
-Certified Police Defensive Tactics Instructor - International Police Defensive Tactics School Okinawa, Japan
-Certified Paralegal Specializing in Civil Litigation -Professional Development Institute
-Diploma in Private Security - Professional Development Institute
-Certified in the use of chemical restraint and collapsible baton - Pinkerton Investigation and Consulting
-Certified Member of the Community Emergency Response Team/Trauma Counselor -The Department of Homeland Security
-Diploma in Substance Abuse Counseling - New Hampshire Technical Institute
-Diploma in Child Psychology -Stratford Institute
-NH Certified Guardian ad Litem Investigator--Family Court NH Department of Justice -Judiciary Division
-NH Certified Guardian ad Litem Investigator--Superior Court NH Department of Justice -Judiciary Division
-NH Certified Guardian ad Litem Investigator--District Court NH Department of Justice -Judiciary Division
-NH Certified Guardian ad Litem Investigator--Probate Court NH Department of Justice -Judiciary Division
-NH Board Certified Marital Mediator -NH Board of Mediators -NH Mediation Program Inc.
-NH Certified Family and Juvenile Mediator - NH Mediation Program Inc.
-NH Certified Victim-Offender Mediator - NH Mediation Program Inc.
-Certified Batterer Interventionist - Massachusetss Department of Pbulic Health
-NH Certified Domestic Violence Advocate -NH Domestic Violence Coalition
-Master of Science Degree in Community / Counseling Psychology - New Hampshire College
-Master of Science Degree in Business Management / Public Administration - Franklin Pierce College
-Associate in Applied Science Degree in Technology - University of New Hampshire
-Former NH Department of Education Certified, High School Vocational Teacher, High School Guidance Counselor, Special Education Pupil Personnel Administrator and Comphrensive Health-Education Coordinator
-Honorable Discharge from the United States Navy -Hospital Corps

For more information on training with Sensei Azem, please click HERE.