Aikido Academy started in 1997 in the Redmond Area. The school started off as just an Aikido School and has branched off into Kung-Fu, Tai Chi and Qigong, and Ancient Weapons. The school is known for having one of the best Aikido programs for children in the country.
William Gray, Godan
William is a 5th degree Black Belt in Aikido with the CAA (California Aikido Association). He has trained extensively since 1985 in various styles of Aikido, including five years in Tomiki style Aikido. He has also trained with several instructors including Sensei George Ledyard, Shihan Fumio Toyoda, and Shihan Frank Doran. Sensei Bill has taught at national east coast seminars on how to teach martial arts to children. He has earned his BS in electrical engineering. Bill's Kung-Fu and Qigong teacher is Tony Stone and Tai-Chi is Scott Meredith and has study Japanese combat martial arts.
John Nicol, Nidan
John is a 2nd degree Black Belt with martial arts spans over 40 years, beginning with Kung Fu & boxing. In 1972 he began intensive studies in Wing Chung Kung Fu, in 1979 moving to China and achieving the rank of Sifu. In 1982 John returned to Seattle, teaching Kung Fu & Qi Gong, when he heard about a radically different style called Aikido. Fascinated by the grace & magic of Aikido, he received his first Aikido belt from the Seattle Ki Society under Yoshihiko Hirata Sensei and Koichi Tohei Sensei in 1982. In the 90's he studied under Shihan George Ledyard at Aikido Eastside, and then in 2002 one year at Aikido West as a visiting student under Shihan Frank Doran. In 2006 John joined the Aikido Academy in Redmond under Bill Gray Sensei. He also studies Daitoryu Aikijujitsu under Senseis Howard Popkin and Joe Brogna.
Miho is a 2nd degree Black Belt with a background in Karate as well. They started aikido after watching an Aikido Demonstration at Western Washington University, which was, coincidentally, performed by Sensei Bill's students. Initially starting at Kulshan Aikikai Aikido in Bellingham, once they graduated with a BA in Mathematics, they moved back home to Redmond to obtain their Masters in Teaching at Seattle University. It was a natural transition to then join Aikido Academy under Sensei Bill to continue their aikido journey.
More on the strict side, Miho makes sure that Japanese etiquette and mannerism are taught in the art, given that preserving a martial art of their heritage is important.
Given their background in education, Miho is experienced working with students of all ages and demographics.
Mike Koenig, Yondan
Mike is 4th degree Black Belt started Aikido training after watching his then 6-year-old son having tons of fun in the kids class. He enjoys the flow of Aikido, the endless variation of possibilities and different energies to play with. His favorite training style is energetic, laughing, and having fun.
Mike lives in Japan and teaches the Saturday morning adult open class when he is in town. He builds his classes around the students and is always happy to hear what they want to work on. He focuses on the foundations of the techniques while still giving insights into why they work.