Kristina Varjan - 7th Dan, Shihan

Kristina Varjan - 7th Dan, Shihan

Varjan sensei is Technical Advisor of Aikido of Kohala and Advisor for the Kohala Koboji Mission in Kapaau, HI. She started Aikido training at New York Aikikai with Yoshimitsu Yamada shihan in 1975. She was a member of the Kenshusei program under T.K. Chiba shihan at the San Diego Aikikai from 1989-1992. In 1996, Varjan sensei established Kohala Aikikai and Aikido of Kohala on the Big Island of Hawaii and New Mexico Aikikai from 2005-2008 in Placitas, NM. She was the Technical Advisor and Senior Instructor for Aikido of Albuquerque from 2008-2012. Varjan sensei travels frequently to Europe where she teaches both Aikido and the Feldenkrais Method. She is a member of the Senior Council of Birankai North America.

 
Dennis Belt - 7th Dan, Shihan

Dennis Belt - 7th Dan, Shihan

Belt sensei is the Chief Instructor at Ventura Aikikai. He began his aikido training by attending a class at Ventura College taught by Nobu Iseri shihan in 1978. He has studied intensively with and, in 2010, he was awarded shihan by T.K. Chiba shihan. He has studied Iaido since 1994. He is a member of the Senior Council of Birankai North America and was a long-time member of the Birankai North America Examination Committee.

 
J.D. Sandoval - 6th Dan, Shidoin

J.D. Sandoval - 6th Dan, Shidoin

Sandoval sensei is Chief Instructor of Hayward Aikido. He began his Aikido training in 1989 with Ichiro Shibata, shihan and is a graduate Kenshusei of Shibata sensei. He has trained extensively in Aikido while it was under the direction of T. K. Chiba shihan. In 1998, Sandoval sensei served as Chief Instructor of Marin Aikikai and, in 2007, he opened his second school, Hayward Aikido. In addition to Aikido, Sandoval sensei is a certified Iaido instructor and is ranked 4th dan in Kenpo.

Diane Deskin - 5th Dan, Shidoin

Diane Deskin - 5th Dan, Shidoin

Deskin sensei is Chief Instructor of Sonoran Aikikai. She began aikido training in Santa Fe, NM in 1991, under the teaching of Rihab Yaqub sensei. In 1995, she started training with T.K. Chiba shihan at San Diego Aikikai. As a personal student of Chiba sensei, Deskin sensei trained intensely in Aikido, Aiki-weapons and Iaido and she is a graduate Kenshusei of T. K. Chiba shihan. In 2002, she founded Sonoran Aikikai in Tucson, AZ. Deskin sensei continues to digitize and archive videos of Chiba sensei and Birankai seminars.

Jenny Flower - 6th Dan, Shidoin

Jenny Flower - 6th Dan, Shidoin

Flower sensei is Chief Instructor of Athens Aikido. She began practicing Aikido in Norwich, UK in 1989. Two years later, she traveled to San Diego to become a student of T.K. Chiba shihan, direct student of the founder. She trained in the Kenshusei program for three years, spending one year as Uchideshi. While at the San Diego Aikikai, she also studied extensively with Morihiko Murashige shihan. Flower sensei has been teaching in Athens, Greece since 2000. Flower sensei is Chairman of the Hellenic Birankai Teaching Committee.