6th Dan, Shidoin
Gordon began his study of martial arts in 1971, simultaneously studying Jiu-Jitsu and Tae Kwon Do. In 1978 he also embraced the Brazilian martial art, Capoeira. At long last, in 1980, he met Lehrman Sensei and began his study of Aikido. A 6th dan shidoin, he is Lehrman Shihan's most senior student and also holds the rank of 7th dan in Jiu-Jitsu and 4th dan in Tae Kwon Do.
In teaching, he is a firm believer in the "Ah ha!" principle; helping others discover for themselves how and why things work.
A life-long student and educator, Gordon earned an M.B.A. degree from NYU, obtained NYC and NY State teaching certification at Long Island University and NY State school district administrator's certification at Fordham University. He has been a public school teacher and administrator and currently works for the NYC Department of Education as a labor relations advisor.
Martial arts wise, I achieved
a second kyu brown belt in judo while in college. In the late 1980's, while jogging early mornings in Prospect Park, I often noticed an elderly man doing a tai chi form and was intrigued. Later, in various parts of the NYC, I noticed groups of elderly Chinese people doing tai chi forms in unison and became even more intrigued, knowing that some of these folks had to be in their upper 70's to 80's. I thought at the time, "hey, these folks are onto something!" Before too long I began taking lessons in Yang short form, during the course which I was introduced to aikido by the instructor, who had practiced several martial arts. He also
told me that many practitioners of tai chi practiced aikido and vice-versa. I feel that my experience with tai chi has indeed provided some important insights into the underlying philosophy and mechanics of aikido. I've continued with tai chi to this day, but out of curiosity went to explore aikido at the APS dojo in 1990. That exploration also continues.
Curtis started practicing aikido at Aikido of Park Slope 20 years ago, and has been teaching class for 8 years. He has been practicing yoga for 17 years (Iyengar & Bikram) and is also a student of pilates. In the mid 70's to early 80's, Curtis practiced Kyokushinkai Kan Karate. Those years not practicing karate left something calling him. The first day on the mat at Aikido of Park Slope, he knew aikido was for the rest of his life.
After graduating with a degree in English from the City College of NY, Brian worked as a teacher, actor, and handyman before settling in a career with the NYS Department of Labor. He is married with two grown children and currently lives in Sunset Park.
Brian began practicing Aikido in 1987 at NY Aikikai under the instruction of Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan. After a year or so he learned that Aikido of Park Slope was just down the block from his home. He then began practicing in Brooklyn and has been a pupil of Hal Lehrman Shihan ever since.
He has been practicing Aikido for 25 years and teaching for about 15. Children can benefit from all aspects of Aikido practice. It helps to develop a student’s balance, flexibility, strength and coordination, but it also promotes awareness, the ability to calmly focus, and respect for others.
Evan began teaching at Aikido Of Park Slope in 2005. His classes focus on developing free flowing movement, precise and efficient technique, intuitive improvisation and smooth ukemi (falling and rolling). He currently holds the rank of Yondan.
He began practicing Aikido in 1999, previously studying Ninjitsu beginning in 1987, and has also occasionally practiced Wu style Tai Chi Chuan. Evan is a professional musician, performing and recording regularly on guitar, drums, bass, keyboards and as a vocalist. He is also a recording engineer and producer with a discography numbering in the hundreds.
Clem Richardson is a writer, lecturer, educator and former newspaper columnist now working on several book projects. Recently, he became the Manager of Public Relations at LaGuardia Community College. A Sandan, Clem's Aikido lineage includes studying with Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan (NY Aikikai), Nelson Andujar Sensei (Miami Aikikai), Luqman Hakeem Shihan and his son, Tariq Hakeem, both of the Brooklyn Aikido Club. Having studied with Lehrman Sensei for more than sixteen years, Clem calls Aikido of Park Slope home.
Paul has led children's aikido classes for over two years. His teaching approach is best summarized in a poem by Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf Schools:
Receive the children with reverence.
Educate them in love.
Send them forth in freedom.
Keith is a Middle School English Language Arts Teacher and undercover attorney. When he’s not being abused by his students; giving away free legal advice; and/or helping sweet old ladies crossing the street, he can be found taking story notes or... reading. He’s been known to read a comic or two. He’s an independent comic book writer and burgeoning writer. He’s currently writing his first novel to be published by Rosarium Publishing.
Natalia began practicing aikido in
Russia in 1998 and traveled throughout Europe studying under many aikido masters. In 2009, she moved to the US and started her practice at New York Aikikai under the instruction of Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan. She has been a substitute teacher for the children’s program in NYA for the past 2 years. And she believes that children are naturally more centered and relaxed, making it easier for them to perceive the aikido concept at an early age
Natalia worked as an assistant psychologist and as a director of a children entertainment center for 7 years. Now, she studies marketing at the Zicklin business school and teaches Russian language to children aged 2-14.
Tom has been practicing aikido since 2004, and teaching to children since 2010. He believes practicing aikido is fun and hard work and a great way to learn what our bodies are capable of. Tom tries to bring these aspects into his teaching, and wants young students to enjoy themselves while working hard and learning something new.
Tom was born and raised in NYC, lived in Chicago for a decade, and now resides on Long Island where he works as an engineer for an automation company. He has been training with Lehrman Shihan at Aikido of Park Slope since 2010.