ORANGE, NJ - Walking into the AJW Martial Arts Academy on Main Street in Orange, one would think they had just entered a science classroom rather than karate dojo. Approximately 20 martial arts students varying from the age of 7 to 12 showed off their knowledge of phalanges, patellas, other parts of the body and the properties of H2O. A Karateka must flow like water, move unsuspectingly like gas, and be a solid force like ice. This could be seen in the students at the dojo, but especially in 12 year old Karateka Angela Davis as she fluidly moved across the floor, rolling, kicking, leaping and swinging sticks defending against an imaginary assailant. It was clear to see why Master Harry Baker and Shihan Aron Walker were being promoted to the status of Martial Arts Professors on Saturday, December 15th as Master Harry O. Baker, Jr. integrated the scientific properties of water and karate before the well trained students of Shihan Aaron J. Walker.
Walker and Baker, both experts in the martial arts with over 48 years of training in multiple disciplines, were flanked at the ceremony by black belt students of their own, Sensei Christopher D. Agosto (Walker), Master Rodney A. Armstrong (Baker) and Shihan Khalil Sabu Rashidi (Baker). Also present at the event were Civil Rights Attorney Eldridge Hawkins, Sr. a black belt under Ibrahim Sharif, former Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., along with Cleveland Tyson, Hillary Hawkins and Rupert Bell, all black belts of varying degrees under Master Baker and/or Ibrahim Sharif. Of note is that Professor Ibrahim Sharif, aka George Prior, who had multiple teachers many years ago, received his 7th degree black belt from Dr. Moses Powell and studied extensively under the legendary Professor James Cheatham. Since that time Ibrahim Sharif continued his training with multiple teachers until he achieved his 10th degree and the rank of Professor. Sharif who trained the senseis has practiced martial arts for more than 50 years and has been responsible for countless young people developing the discipline to complete higher education at even Ivy League institutions, becoming physicians, engineers and other professionals. Sharif has been quoted as saying “the ink of a scholar is greater than the blood of a martyr”. He has successfully taught by this mantra. Additionally, specific to the rank of Professor, Sharif further stated: “Professorship as a Martial Artist is based upon humanity, how you work to help the poor and the voiceless. You use your skills physically and mentally to defend the truth and what is right for all people.”
Raised in Newark, Professor Walker received his Black Belt in the art of Shito- Ryu (Japanese Karate) in 1975. Since receiving his black Belt, he studied and trained in various martial art disciplines such as; Karate, Kung- Fu, Aikido, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Kobu-Jitsu (weaponry), Kickboxing and has developed a proficiency in street smart/ close quarter self-defense. In addition to Sharif, he has received knowledge, leadership and training from many World renown martial art teachers such as Master Bernard Trusdale, Master Larry Hazzard, Prof. Ronald Duncan, Prof. Moses
Powell, Prof. David B. James and Prof Vee & Master Joe Lewis. He has been a self–defense consultant for major corporations, Law enforcement agencies, a motivational speaker and stuntman with (SAG) credits for CableTV, Various Music Videos and Low Budget movies. When asked how he felt about being promoted to a professor, Walker said, “the Bible says...your gifts will make a way for you...I've truly been blessed...God is making a way for me and my organization!”
Baker who was born and educated in East Orange, spent 27 years in pharmaceutical sales, served as a substitute teacher and completed his degree in Biology and Physical Science at Upsala College, East Orange, NJ. He has been teaching science-based martial arts since 1977 with the ultimate mission of reaching and teaching at least one million children. Clearly, he is on his way. He is a Certified Archery Trainer/ Instructor, (USA Archery, National Field Archery Association, American Shooters Association), Certified Archery Instructor for the National Archery in Schools Program and President of Golden Eagle Archery Academy with 45 years experience in archery. He served as the Director of K-9 Training for New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway Police Division (2004-2007) and served as Trial K-9 Decoy for the Garden State Schutzhund Club (1990-1994). He is President of K-9 University and creator of the K-9 Kids Danger/Stranger Program. Baker inducted into the USA Martial Arts “Hall of Fame” on March 15, 2008, said, "It was an honor to receive the designation of Professor from Professor Ibrahim Sharif and be promoted alongside Shihan Walker in his dojo. Teaching the martial arts to our children by infusing elements of science and math has been the cornerstone of my teachings as it was passed down to me by my teachers. Nothing in life is easy but we must remember that to fall 7 times means we must rise 8 times. Never give up in your journey through life."