Coach Thomas Dineen

Tom was born in Quantico, VA, and grew up near Philadelphia. He graduated with a degree in English literature from Columbia University, where he won the Andrew D. Fried Memorial Prize for critical writing and edited the Columbia Art Review. He then received law degrees from the University of Oxford and University of Pennsylvania Law School. When not at his day job (securities regulation) or teaching cane, Tom serves as President and CEO of the American Jujitsu Association (AJA), a national, non-profit amateur athletic organization founded in 1972 to support the martial art of traditional jujitsu.

The AJA promotes a variety of competitions, recognizes outstanding instructors with national awards, and provides liability/accident insurance and certificates of rank. Before becoming President, Tom served at various times as the AJA’s Vice President, Chair of its National Standards and Certification Board, and Membership Director. He began martial arts training in his mid-thirties with Han Guk Mu Sool, a Korean hybrid system, then was drawn to traditional jujitsu in the early 2000s; he currently holds the rank of Nidan with the AJA. For several years, he also studied Japanese swordsmanship (Musō Shinden-Ryū Iaido), qualifying as Shodan with the All-U.S. Kendo Federation (AUSKF). In addition, Tom is a certified instructor in Defensive Tactics Systems (DTS), which teaches situational awareness, unarmed and armed tactics (using guns, knives, and improvised weapons), and other ways to counter street assaults and mass shootings…a skill set relevant to cane self-defense.

Tom now focuses on teaching how to use the walking cane for street self-defense and to improve strength and agility. He trains in the American Cane System (ACS) with its founder, Grand Master Mark Shuey, and his successor, Master Paul Votava. Tom developed Defensive Canes For All to provide—at little or no cost—quality self-defense-adapted canes and training to seniors, veterans, the disabled, and fellow martial artists.