Kevin Pickard sensei
Retired from the business world in 1999 to pursue his on-going dedication to Aikido, Kevin Sensei is an internationally certified instructor. He is ranked Godan (5th degree black belt) and has studied martial arts for more than 25 years. Trained in Japan and throughout North America with top instructors, in 1992, he participated in the development of Aikido instruction at Shuwakan Dojo in Indianapolis; in 2001, he helped to build Mugenjuku Dojo in Los Angeles; in 2002, he started a children’s class in the Huntington Beach dojo; and in 2008, he moved to San Diego to start Aikido of Del Mar. Kevin sensei has been the head instructor of Aikido Del Mar for nearly ten years.
Kevin Sensei says: Aikido is not a sport, so talent is not required. What is required is persistence, determination and a mindset open to learning something new, something that may challenge many of your current beliefs.
In the correct training environment, the practice of Aikido will reconnect the body, mind and spirit. Any one can benefit regardless of age, gender, size, talent, or fitness. What is different for each person is how that unification expresses itself – overall, it will produce a person with increased self-discipline, focus, and a healthier mind and body. All this happens while you learn this powerful martial art Aikido.
Flo Li sensei
Flo Li started training in Aikido Del Mar since 2008 with her first teachers Kevin Pickard sensei and Edward Sterrett sensei. Flo sensei holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in Yoshinkan Aikido, she is also an internationally-certified instructor. Studied under the guidance of Jacques Payet shihan of Mugenjuku Aikido in Kyoto, and Yukio Utada kancho of Doshinkan Aikido in Philadelphia, Jaimie Sheppard sensei and Derek Bindner sensei in London, Ontario, Canada, she has also attended seminars in Japan, Canada, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Diego and had the opportunity to teach in various dojos in North America. Flo sensei has been the head kids/youth instructor for Aikido Del Mar since 2011. Flo sensei is the head aikido and shodo (Japanese Calligraphy) instructor in Encinitas Aikido since 2015.
Flo Sensei says: Find the stillness within, find the source of deep peace within. Once you have tapped into the endless wealth of joy amid that deep peace then express it to touch another – this is aikido - it is an expression of Love. From the source of intuition, you can erase the lines of separation and know the feelings of harmonious Oneness. It heals old wounds, it gives life to our dormant hearts, it encourages bravery, so we can stand for something greater than ourselves.
Joseph Kelly sensei
Joseph Kelly sensei started his aikido training in Philadelphia with kancho Yukio Utada of Doshinkan Aikido in 1992. Five years later, he trained in Aikikai style aikido under TK Chiba sensei who was an uchi deshi (live-in student) for O Sensei, the founder of Aikido. Joseph sensei has also trained in Yoshinkan style aikido with Cameron Gary Sensei under the direction of Steven Miranda Sensei before arriving in Aikido Del Mar in 2009. Joseph sensei holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in Yoshinkan Aikido with specific expertise in self-defence, ukemi, and weapons techniques. He teaches the kids and youth class on Thursday and occutionally the adult class on Saturday.
Joseph Sensei says: I started Aikido mostly for self-defense, with a minor emphasis on the spiritual/philosophical side. During this time of my Yoshinkan Aikido days I went to a seminar featuring Jaques Payet Sensei, and discovered his philosophy and teaching style held the missing link in my Aikido training. While Aikido has given me skills and confidence in the self-defense arena, more importantly, it has given me skills and confidence to handle everyday matters that have made me a more complete person that allows me to live life to its fullest on a daily basis.
Jason Williams sensei
Jason Williams is head instructor at Encinitas Aikido starting 2018, teaching Aikido and Buki Sojyutsu (Weapons techniques) under the supervision of his teacher Yukio Utada Kancho, founder of Doshinkan Aikido. Jason began training in Aikido with his wife Janine Williams Sensei (2nd degree black belt, Doshinkan Aikido, founder of Encinitas Aikido) at the Doshinkan dojo in Philadelphia in 2008. In 2012, he was awarded the rank of Shodan (1st degree black belt). In partnership with Aikido Del Mar Jason offers open weapons seminars (Bokken, Jo, Tanto) several times a year and co-host’s the annual seminar with Utada Kancho in the fall.
Jason Sensei says: Upon beginning my training in Aikido, I recall thinking ‘how did he/she do that?’ after being unbalanced and thrown by someone much smaller than me. Then immediately after recovering thinking ‘I wonder if I can do that’. This happened again and again, and was and remains a very simple joy of training. Aikido is one of the various forms of Japanese budo which helps one cultivate a focused and calm mind, one that cannot easily be disturbed by distraction. This concept is Fudoshin or ‘immovable mind’, and is embodied in our basic and fundamental stance, Kamae. We learn to face our attacker (life) head on, with confidence and clarity. As we progress, we begin to realize that our struggle with the technique is not the incoming force of our attacker, but our own posture, tension or ego. With this we then realize that our progress in Aikido (life) is only self-limited, and we can begin to let go and surpass that which we thought we were capable. This is summed up in O-Sensei’s quote: “Masakatsu Agatsu… True victory is victory over oneself.” Morihei Ueshiba (Founder of Aikido)
Edward Sensei says: The opportunity to travel and meet people of such diverse cultures united in their passion for Aikido has been both inspiring and humbling. More than anything I have learned that every student is a teacher and every teacher is a student. Each time I bow in thanks I remember this.
Edward Sterrett sensei
Edward Sterrett is the co-founder of Aikido of Del Mar. He holds the rank of Godan (5th degree black belt) in Yoshinkan Aikido. He began his training in 1996, and studied intensively with Jacques Payet sensei from 2002 to 2005. In the last few years, travel for his academic research has limited his time at Aikido of Del Mar, but afforded him the opportunity to assist Payet sensei in workshops in England, Ukraine, and Qatar. He now resides in Los Angeles, and returns to Aikido of Del Mar whenever he can for training.
Huy Sensei says: Aikido is an art. As any other arts, it's fathomless. With diligent study and practice, aikidodan will discover the mysticism of the art and will greatly enjoy and appreciate this exquisite art.
Huy Nguyen sensei
Huy Nguyen started Aikido at Aikido Delmar in 2012. Training with Kevin Sensei, Edward Sensei and Flo Sensei. Huy and his two daughters are fascinated with this non-competitive but powerful Martial Art. They have been active members of the dojo since. Huy Nguyen achieved his shodan and instructor credential in the winter of 2015. Huy often assists with youth and adult classes.