Opher Donchin (3rd dan)
I first joined an Aikido dojo in 1989. I began studying seriously in 1993 (or maybe 1994) and received my black belt (shodan) in 1999 from Seidokan Aikido, my 2nd degree black belt (nidan) in 2004 from Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, and my 3rd degree black belt (sandan) in 2015 from Aikikai. I have also trained in Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, and Contact Improv. My primary goal in teaching Aikido is to foster awareness of one’s own body and sensitivity to the body of the partner. I believe strongly that the more we focus on noticing and responding (and the less we focus on doing and reaching goals), the easier it will be for us to respond appropriately to new, uncomfortable or scary situations. I believe that Aikido should be trained dynamically, martially, and with serious intent. It is only in this way that we create the feeling of dynamic, volatile situations that challenge us.