Shihan T.S. Okuyama
 
Chief Instructor
Chief Instructor T.S. Okuyama has studied Aikido for more than forty years under a number of renowned Aikido teachers in both the United States and Japan in the direct lineage of the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei.  Okuyama Sensei, a native of Japan, began his Aikido training in the United States in 1972 under the late A. Tohei Shihan, 8th Dan, from Hombu dojo (Aikido headquarters).  He trained there while earning a degree in engineering and returned to Japan in 1976, where he has studied at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo and Gessoji Temple with H. Tada Shihan, 9th Dan.  In 1979, he returned to the United States, and in 1981 he met and began training under T.K. Chiba Shihan, 8th Dan, in San Diego.  He moved back to Japan in 1983 and again trained under H. Tada Shihan at Gessoji Temple.
In 1985 he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan and founded Great Lakes Aikikai in 1988. He has also taught Aikido for the sports club program at the University of Michigan. On January 12, 2014, Kagamibiraki, he received 7th Dan from Doshu.  He also has the title of Shihan (grand master).
He has also studied Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido under T.K. Chiba Shihan and T. Mitsuzuka Shihan, (8th Dan in Tokyo) for over 30 years and holds the rank of 6th Dan and Shihan title.
Okuyama Sensei relocated to Albuquerque in September of 2001.
Assistant Instructors
Ron Druva, accountant and illustrator, started Aikido with Nakazono Sensei in 1980, Chiba Sensei in 1983, Abbot Sensei in 1985, Hasan Sensei in 1987, Okuyama Sensei in 2002. he helped to found the Southwestern Aikikai in 1983. He has a rank of Godan (fifth degree) and Shodan in Iaido.
"Aikido for me has been a way of balancing my life and dealing with my problems and weaknesses as well as utilizing my strengths. I began my training as a warrior and for violent self defense. Over the last 40 odd years this has evolved into a desire for non-damaging control of conflict and a search for enlightenment and along the way I have found and become part of a great school and good friends."
David Bowers, research engineer, began Aikido in 1995 at the urging of his father.  The majority of his training has been in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.  He has trained with Okuyama Sensei in Iaido and Aikido since his arrival in Albuquerque and currently holds the rank of Godan (5th degree) and Sandan(3rd Degree) in Iaido. 
"I see Aikido training as a means of self assessment and human growth.”
Steven Gould, writer, has been practicing Aikido since 1995 and holds the rank of Yondan (4th degree) in Aikido and Shodan in Iaido.
He has previous experience in Judo and Karate but came to Aikido because he wanted a martial art he could practice for the rest of his life; a martial art that gave him the option of defending himself without doing lasting harm to his attacker. 
He also teaches the dojo's noon and children's classes.
Dojo Advisor
Sophia Bowers holds the rank of Nidan (2nd degree) in Aikido and Shodan in Iaido.
 
“Aikido is both a challenging and rewarding practice for me - you never stop learning.  As my life has changed and evolved, so has my Aikido practice.  What has remained the same for me is finding analogies between my practice on the mat and everyday life.  I look forward to seeing you on the mat. “
Amanda Koosner, Musician and Journalist, holds the rank of Shodan (1st degree)