Martial Arts Instructor Biography
Michael Balog (Mike) started his martial arts training in the International style of Tae Kwon Do in 1984 under SaBuNim Sang Ki Eun at New Life Black Belt Academy on Loch Raven Blvd and Joppa Rd in the greater Towson, MD area. By 1988 Mike earned his First Degree Black Belt and Instructor qualifications in this style of Tae Kwon Do. Under the direction of 2nd Degree Black Belts Mr. Nick Bova and Mr. Tom Lotterer, Mike joined in teaching (and continuous learning) the art of Tae Kwon Do at the Parkville Recreation Center, Baltimore County, MD throughout much of the 1990s. During the time at the Parkville Recreation Center Mike assisted the other 2 instructors as they founded the organization – Independent American Dojos.
In the early 1990s Mike began an 8 year study under Sensei Brian Sutherland in Tomiki (Shotokan) Aikido. Mike still considers Sensei Sutherland a mentor (and friend) in the art of Aikido. Mike also studied briefly under Sensei Frank Ferris and briefly studied the Aikikai (traditional) Aikido at two Dojos in the Baltimore , MD area. All Dojos offered exceptional training but Mike found that the Tomiki style fit him better and the mix with some Judo techniques taught by Brian Sutherland added an additional benefit not found in some other Aikido Dojos.
By 2000 Mike had begun his training in a Japanese style of Ju-Jitsu. Mike specifically draws the distinction between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and traditional Japanese style of Ju-Jitsu out of respect for both disciplines. In 2010, Mike was promoted to Black Belt by Sensei Debbie Burk under Budoshin Ju-Jitsu recognized by the American Ju-Jitsu Association. From the 2000-2010 Mike won several First Place rankings in Shia and “full contact” Ju-Jitsu tournaments (non-Brazilian JJ style tournaments). In 2010 Mike also received recognition from the American Federation of Ju-Jitsu as a 2nd Degree Black Belt – Traditional Ju-Jitsu. Mike is listed as a Certified Instructor and Black Belt in both the American Ju-Jitsu Association and the American Federation of Ju-Jitsu.
In 2007 Mike decided to add the Art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to his skills and knowledge and, wow, what an experience this has been. The training in Traditional Ju-Jitsu, some Judo training, and Aikido was certainly an advantage when sparing from the “stand up” position in BJJ. However, once the competition “goes to the ground”, it’s an entirely new “ball-game” as the saying goes. Mike spent 4 ½ years in some of the hardest Martial Arts training he has ever experienced. Under World Champion Daniel Beleza Mike earned the rank of Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and although this is the first promotion in BJJ, it was the most challenging to Mike, personally. Mike also trained with those who competed in local MMA competitions in Central PA. Mike competed in BJJ tournaments – won some, lost some. Mike still periodically trains under the exceptionally skilled BJJ Black Belt Daniel Beleza in York, PA.
Mike now teaches through his own Dojo – Mason Dixon Martial Arts Academy. Classes take place at the Southern York County, PA YMCA – better known as the Shrewsbury, YMCA. This Dojo has integrated the arts of Ju-Jitsu, Tomiki Aikido, and Tae Kwon Do into a core curriculum. The Dojo will also integrate basic ground techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for self defense purposes. As classes become larger and an interest develops, higher qualified Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructors will be available for teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Mike expects participants to train hard, stay humble, and have a respect for all Martial Art styles as each imparts skills that compliment other Arts.