Pat Hendricks, 7th Dan, began studying Aikido in 1974 while a student at Monterey Peninsula College in California under Stan Pranin. In 1976 moved to Iwama, Japan, where she became uchi-deshi and a student of Saito Sensei for two years. Over the next 25 years Pat Sensei returned regularly to Iwama as uchi-deshi under Saito Sensei. She still returns to this day. In 1984 she founded the Aikido of San Leandro dojo. At the All-Japan Demonstration in Tokyo in 1992, Pat Sensei was very honored to have been the sole uke for Saito Sensei's demonstration, the first time a Caucasian, less a female aikido-ka, participated as uke for such a high-ranking teacher at such a high profile event.

Michael Friedl, 7th Dan, began his Aikido training in 1972 under Clyde Takeguchi Sensei. He moved to Ashland, Oregon in 1979 and started a small club. Friedl Sensei affiliated with Frank Doran Sensei in 1979 and has been a student of his since that time. Friedl Sensei was uchi deshi for Saito Sensei in Iwama, Japan from 1981-1983. Friedl Sensei returned to Ashland in 1986 and started a dojo at the Ashland YMCA in 1987. In July of 1994 Aikido of Ashland opened it's doors to dojo members.He also served 4 years as President of the California Aikido Association.

Danielle Smith, 7th Dan, began training in 1973, when the Aikido of Monterey dojo was first established, and has trained in the United States and Japan. Her teacher is Frank Doran Shihan. Since 1983 she has been full-time Chief Instructor of the adult and youth programs at Aikido of Monterey. She is also a certified Pilates instructor and brings the "power of alignment" to her teaching of Aikido. Smith Sensei has also studied Tai Chi Chuan, is a 3rd dan in Hakko Ryu Jujutsu, a 4th dan in Seibukan Jujutsu and a 1st dan in Iaido. She is one of five martial artists who developed the widely acclaimed and internationally taught women's self-defense system known as "Model Mugging."

Dennis Evans, 6th Dan, has trained continuously in Aikido since Aikido of Monterey was established in 1973.  He is a direct student of Frank Doran Shihan. Evans Sensei has also studied Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung, and is a Shodan in Iaido. He has taught regularly at Aikido of Monterey since 1977, teaching vigorous general and advanced classes.  He has been a local physician since 1973.

Louis Jumonville, 6th Dan, Dojo Cho, and Chief Instructor of Hikari Dojo has been training in the martial arts for over 40 years, and teaching since 1989. He has trained extensively in Japan, at the founder's original dojo under Morihiro Saito Shihan. In 1991, at the founder's dojo in Iwama, Morihiro Saito Shihan presented Jumonville Sensei with the 3rd and 4th level Aiki-Ken and Aiki-Jo Transmission Scrolls authorizing him to teach the Aiki-ken and Aiki-jo. Jumonville Sensei has spent a total of 6½ years continuously being a live-in student, first to Morihiro Saito Shihan for 1½ years, and immediately following that with 5 years at Aikido of San Leandro Dojo, under Pat Hendricks Sensei.

James Friedman, 6th Dan, began Aikido training in 1980 at the Oakland Aikido Institute.  In 1995 he met Kato Hiroshi Shihan at Hombu Dojo and shortly thereafter became Kato Sensei’s first American student.  He also had a very close relationship with the late master Terry Dobson, who had a profound and lasting influence on Friedman Sensei’s Aikido and overall views on the art.  Friedman Sensei’s approach to Aikido stresses hard training and conditioning with an emphasis on practical application, while retaining a very relaxed physical state.  Friedman Sensei is very dedicated to cross training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Thai Kick boxing.

Michael Smith, 6th Dan, began his training at Aikido of Monterey in 1986 under Danielle Smith Sensei. His training has also been significantly influenced by Frank Doran Shihan. In addition, Smith Sensei has made multiple trips to Japan to study with Motomichi Anno Sensei.  He has taught regularly at Aikido of Monterey since 1991.  Smith Sensei also holds a 2nd degree blackbelt in Kyudo (Japanese archery). He has studied Aikibojitsu with Tom Read Sensei since 1999 and is a licensed teacher with the rank of 5th degree blackbelt.

Yvonne Thelwell, 5th Dan, has been training in aikido for nearly 26 years. She was the late Don Lyon Sensei’s sempei, and since 1996 has been the Chief Instructor at Akido of Arlington.  She has been an uchi-deshi in Iwama. She has trained under Morihiro Saito Sensei, and has also been largely influenced by Pat Hendricks Sensei. We are a member of the California Aikido Association - Division 1. We are very active in the community. We have shared our love of aikido through several demos, including annual participation in the National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC, and events at the Japan Embassy, the National Building Museum, and National Geographic. When not on the mat, Yvonne is probably either traveling the world or designing bridges, her other passions.