ABOUT OUR INSTRUCTORS
Stewart Johnson Sensei
Godan, Dojo cho/Chief Instructor
Johnson Sensei is one of the founding members of Zenshinkai Aikido Association, and has been serving on the national teaching committee of this organization since 2011. As a member of The Zenshinkai Teaching Committee, he plays a significant role in elevating students to become black-belts, and helping them grow into leadership and teaching roles.
Johnson Sensei began his Aikido and formal Buddhist training in 1992 at Jikishinkan Dojo under Joseph Jarman Sensei. Currently ranked Godan (5th degree black belt), he became Chief Instructor and Dojo-cho of Jikishinkan Dojo when Jarman Sensei retired in 2005. Johnson Sensei was able to attend seminars and receive instruction from Fumio Toyoda Shihan from 1992 until 2001, when Toyoda Sensei suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.
A long-time practicing Buddhist, Johnson Sensei began formal Buddhist practice under Jarman Sensei and took formal vows under Rev. Saito in 1996. Johnson Sensei took formal vows under a new lineage in 2009 with Greg Tetsuzan Noble Sensei.
Johnson Sensei’s teaching at Jikishinkan Dojo is centered around the importance of realizing the kernel of truth common to both Aikido and Buddhism. This intersection is best characterized by the following statement by Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei, the founder of Aikido: “Opponents confront us continually but in reality there is no opponent there”. Truly understand this and all confusion will melt away.
Samer Freij Sensei
Nidan, Chief Youth Instructor
Freij Sensei has been training at Jikishinkan since 2009 and is currently ranked Nidan (2nd degree black belt). He has been chief instructor of our youth program since 2016, and is a certified instructor under the national organization Zenshinkai Aikido Association. Samer finds comfort in continuous training and believes that practicing the art of aikido can improve one’s life. In his free time, Samer enjoys reading comic books and science fiction novels. He also has a love for photography.