Russ Rayburn - Russ has 30 years Aikido experience. He began his training in Washington State under Yoshihiko Hirata Sensei. From there he moved to Orange County where he trained at Orange County Aikikai under John Kapu Sensei. He finally moved to the Central Coast of California where he has trained under a number of different teachers at different dojos. During the last 15 years he has been affiliated with the California AIkido Association division 2 under Frank Doran Sensei(until recently he was a member of Aikido of San Luis Obispo, Mary Tesoro dojocho). Before that he trained with Greg Barker Sensei(affiliated with Hideki Shiohira Sensei) and a student of Roderick Kobayashi Sensei. He has also trained in Aikijujitsu under Ken Kiyama Sensei. Russ has taught Aikido in San Luis Obispo for the past 15 years.
Paul Stallman - Paul began his martial arts training in 1983 by studying Washin Ryu Karate. He began Aikido training in 1987 under Tom Collings Sensei, Cliff Marcus Sensei, Bio Gabriel Sensei and Joe Nemeth Sensei who jointly ran a Dojo under Yamada Sensei. At that time he was able to frequently train directly under Yamada Sensei and Sugano Sensei. He was fortunate to have exposure to Kanai Sensei at that time as well. In 1994 he moved to California and studied with Patrick Cassidy Sensei whose Dojo was affiliated with Saito Sensei and studied "Iwama Style" Aikido and Aikido weapons. It was then that he had the opportunity to do some training at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo and at the old Iwama Dojo. In 2000, Paul moved to San Luis Obispo and trained at Aikido of San Luis Obispo affiliated with Frank Doran Sensei. Since that time he has been continuously training in and teaching Aikido here in San Luis Obispo. He presently holds the rank of Godan(5th degree black belt)
Larry Bardach - 5th Dan Aikikai. Training since1975, Larry Bardach has studied under many renowned teachers. His training was solidified from 1981 – 1982 when as a student living under the tutelage of Morihiro Saito Sensei in Iwama Japan he received the rank of shodan, and subsequently nidan. Under Saito Sensei he received extensive training in Aiki-Ken and Aiki-Jo. Over the years he returned to Iwama to train under Saito Sensei. Bardach Sensei also trained under YoshimitsuYamada Shihan in New York City for five years, and thereafter with several highly-ranked instructors in the California San Francisco Bay area. He was promoted to Godan under Pat Hendricks Shihan. He follows a yogic / advaita spiritual tradition and has traveled to India several times to further his meditation practices. Bardach Sensei focuses on developing the internal aspects of power inherent in Aikido. He seeks to train and teach earnestly with a sense of vitality, joy and warmth.
Jason Carter - Jason began training in Aikido in 1994 while living in Japan under Miles Kessler Sensei of the Mito Kokusai Aikido Club. Kessler Sensei subsequently introduced him to Saito Hitohiro Sensei of the Ibaraki "Iwama" dojo. He was one of the few non-Japanese who ended up training at Iwama for an extended period of time(4 years). He had the honor of learning from both the late Saito Morihiro Sensei and Saito Hitohiro Sensei and many other high ranking sensei at the Iwama dojo as well as Hirosawa Sensei in Mito City. After returning to California, he continues to train under Gentil Pennewaert Sensei, the late Sugano Seiichi Sensei's European Otomo and one of his closest students and co-creator of the "Sugano Sword System". Through Pennewaert Sensei he has been able to train under Sugano Sensei, Yamada Sensei, France's Jean-Marc Chamot Sensei and Australia's Hanan Janiv Sensei. He currently holds a 3rd dan in Aikido, 3rd dan in Kendo and 1st kyu in Iaido.
Michele Simone - Michele stepped on the mat for the first time in 1990 in San Luis Obispo and has been training ever since. She started teaching classes in 1995. One of the highlights of Michele's teaching was the opportunity to work with children ages 4-12 where she directed a local Aikido program for 9 years. Michele considers Frank Doran, Shihan (Aikido West, Redwood City) her primary teacher and travels several times a year to train with him. In the various stages of her training for the past 25 years, Michele's Aikido has been influenced and supported by many teachers: Tom Elliott; Mary Tesoro Sensei (Aikido of San Luis Obispo); Danielle Smith Sensei, Dennis Evans Sensei, Michael Smith Sensei (Aikido of Monterey); Cindy Hayashi Sensei (Aikido West); Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan (Boulder Aikikai). Michele's interest in Aikido emerged while studying full contact, adrenaline-state, self-defense training referred to as "Model Mugging” where she taught classes for over 10 years. Currently, Michele integrates the principles of aikido in her work with with at-risk youth. Michele holds the rank of 4th Dan.
Aikido Central Coast