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Please click here to register for the upcoming Tai Sai Seminar.


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Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett

I studied a variety of martial arts in my youth including Kenpo, Taijiquan, Shotokan, Shorin-Ryu Karate, and Tae Kwon Do. In 1991, I began my study of Iwama Aikido under the direction of Wolfgang Baumgartner Sensei in Reno, Nevada.

My career required I move throughout the west but whether in southern California, Tucson, Las Vegas, Nevada or Albuquerque I have continued to study a variety of aikido styles. My other instructors have included Aviv Goldsmith, Tom Rennie, Judith Robinson, Coryl Crane, Stan Pranin, Diane Deskin, and James Cornfield Senseis.

When I relocated to Albuquerque, I crossed paths with Bill Smythe Sensei of Aikido Arts Center Santa Fe. Baumgartner Sensei had started Aikido Arts Center several years before but had since returned to his native Germany and turned the dojo over to Bill Sensei. Nevertheless, Baumgartner Sensei returns to Santa Fe regularly to offer seminars at his former school. As a result, for three years I drove over an hour each way to train several days a week in Santa Fe. Several years ago, I decided to teach Iwama style aikido in Albuquerque through Recreational Services at the University of New Mexico. In January of 2018, I moved my program off campus to it's present location, 4312 Lomas Boulevard NE in Albuquerque. I currently hold a Yoddan (4th degree black belt) recognized by the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo.

I regularly travel to seminars throughout the west and have attended those taught by Morihiro Saito, Hans Goto, Kim Peuser, Hoa Newans, Pat Hendricks, Bill Witt, Hiroshi Ikeda, Mitsugi Saotome, and the current Doshu, Morihei Ueshiba Sensei among others.

Charles Stein

Charles Stein

In 1992, in college studying Japanese ceramics, I had my first experience with aikido. I practiced sporadically for the next ten years. In May 2002, I renewed my commitment to aikido. I was introduced to Iwama style aikido by both Douglas Dale Sensei and Vincent Salvatore Sensei, and spent time traveling back and forth between the two. In January 2003, I moved to Reno Nevada and became uchideshi under Vince Salvatore Sensei. While uchideshi, I received my shodan in 2005. That same year, I traveled to Iwama, Japan and became uchideshi under Hitohiro Saito Sensei. While in Japan under H. Saito Sensei, I received my yudansha certificate. Upon my return to the USA, I resumed as uchideshi in Reno until 2006. In 2008, I received my nidan, and in 2013, I established Tucson Desert Aikido in Tucson, AZ. After moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2017, I renamed the school East Mountain Aikido and merged with Albuquerque Iwama Aikido. In April 2018, I received my sandan.


O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba

(12/14/1883 - 4/26/1969)

Ueshiba was born the son of a landowner from Tanabe and studied a number of martial arts in his youth. He served in the Japanese army during the Russo-Japanese War and moved to Hokkaido after being discharged from service. There he met and studied under Takeda Sokaku, the founder of Daito-ryu Aiki-jiujutsu. When he left Hokkaido in 1919, Ueshiba opened his own dojo. He accompanied an expedition to Mongolia in 1924 to capture and bring Chinese troops back to Japan. The following year, Ueshiba had a spiritual awakening stating that "a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one."

Ueshiba became famous as one of the strongest men of Japan. In 1919, he turned towards more esoteric practices, and developed the "Art of Peace." In 1942, O-Sensei named his new martial art Aikido and moved to the small country town of Iwama. There he continued to practice, teach, and refine Aikido until he passed away in 1969.

Morihei Ueshiba

Morihiro Saito

(3/31/1928 - 5/13/2002)

Morihiro Saito Sensei was one of O Sensei's senior students in Iwama and trained with him for 23 years. After the founders death in 1969, Saito Sensei perpetuated this form of Aikido in Iwama. Saito Sensei died in 2002 but Iwama Aikido continues to this day.

Born in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1928, Morihiro Saito grew up in a poor farming village in the 1930s and early 40s. As a small child, he recounted having the same interest in historical heroes such as Yagyu Jubei Mitsuyoshi and Goto Matabe as most other Japanese boys. Of the martial arts in Japanese schools at the time (kendo and judo), Saito chose to study kendo.

Immediately following WWII, the practicing of martial arts and carrying of weapons were banned. This led Saito to study Shinto-ryu karate as an unarmed self-defense technique. Eventually, Saito's work transferred him to Iwama where he chose to study judo. In the summer of 1946, Saito heard stories about an "old man doing strange techniques iup on the mountain near Iwama."

Morihei Ueshiba had been forced into an early retirement by the ban and took the opportunity to seclude himself in Iwama. It was during this time that Saito joined Ueshiba and began training.

Morihiro Saito


Sensei Charles Neal

Sensei Charles Neal was born and raised in Louisiana. As a young man, he studied Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do. He cross trained in kickboxing, Taiiji Quan, Kung Fu, grappling, and mixed martial arts in Louisiana and New Mexico.

In 2001, Charles began his Aikido training under Sensei James Cornfield at Sandia Budokan. He holds a shodan rank from Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan. In 2015, he began training and functioning as an assistant instructor with Albuquerque Iwama Aikido.

Charles Neil

Sensei Tyler Smith

Sensei Tyler Smith began his martial arts training in the year 2000, inspired by the writings of Bruce Lee and the famous Japanese swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi. He first studied Shaolin Kungfu and Tai Chi Chuan, and then moved into full-contact kickboxing and Muay Thai. He began his training in Kyokushin Karate with Shihan Yoshifumi Ito in Portland, OR in 2008.

He has competed in several full-contact tournaments and took 1st place in the heavyweight division in 2013 and 2014, and currently holds a nidan ranking through the International Karate Organization Tezuka Group.

Smith Sensei leads our Kyokushin Karate program.

Tyler Smith

Sensei Vera Shaffer

Sensei Vera Schaffer has been teaching Enshin Karate for over 20 years with expertise, compassion, and success. She has an extensive background teaching groups of all ages and belt levels. After training for many years at the Honbu (headquarter) Dojo in Denver, Colorado, she relocated to Albuquerque and is excited to bring these special teachings to New Mexico. She holds the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt. Her mission is to create confidence, focus, and a habit of discipline. She strives to create a compassionate environment that propels the potential inside every individual.

Sensei Schaffer leads our Enshin Karate program.

Vera Schaffer

Sensei Nathan Ezra Meier

Sensei Nathan Ezra Meier has been practicing the form for 40 years, and relies on it for centering and keeping limber. Regular practice leads to longevity, which includes keeping the joints supple and the body and mind in tune. It is a meditation form by itself, although it has been practiced as a balance between sitting meditation and martial arts {wai-gung}, for practitioners of those two systems. It has its roots in Taoist practice, and Buddhist monastic practices, as well as Yin-Yang and 5 Element Chinese philosophies.

His teachers have included Bert Norgorden, Charlie Willow, and Ben Lo. He has studied the related forms for staff and sword, and push hands, as well as Chen style and Liou Ho Ba Fa, which inform my Yang style, although he concentrates on Yang style, and stills practice T'ai Chi sword.

Ezra Meier


Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art created by Morihei Ueshiba (1883~1969). He is also known to aikidokas (Aikido practitioners) as O-Sensei or Great Teacher. The physical side of Aikido consists of throws and joint techniques similar to jiujutsu and other movements akin to kenjutsu. However, O-Sensei felt that his system was unique in that it united mind, body, and spirit of the practitioner in such a way to overcome an opponent without resorting to a clash of arms.

Aikido blends the motion of the attacker and redirects the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. O-Sensei's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. Aikido requires very little physical strength, as the aikidoka "leads" the attacker's momentum using entering and turning movements. The techniques are completed with various throws or joint locks. Most styles of Aikido have no competition. Indeed during practice the attacker, called "uke", strikes or grabs the defender, called "nage", two or four times at which point the two persons change roles, i.e., uke becomes nage and vice versa.

Aikido training is intended to promote physical and mental training, according to the proficiency level of each practitioner regardless of age or gender. Aikido training is not only good for health, but also develops self-confidence useful in daily life.

The name Aikido consists of three Japanese Characters (Kanji): AI, to unite; KI, spirit; DO, way or path. The last character is significant in that it implies a path, or philosophy that one follows in one's life. Thus, Aikido is often translated as "the Way of unifying (with) life energy" or as "the Way of harmonious spirit."

Aikido was developed and taught by O-Sensei in Iwama Japan during and after World War II. In addition to the empty hand or taijutsu techniques, Iwama Aikido incorporates bokken or wooden sword, jo or short staff, and tanto or knife.


Karate, meaning "empty-hand" or "China hand", was brought to Japan from the small chain of islands that form Okinawa. The indigenous martial arts of Okinawa were called Te, Ti, or To-de, and were heavily influenced by Chinese martial arts when commercial trade, exploration, and other cultural exchanges occurred between Okinawa and mainland China. Okinawan martial arts were generally distinguished by the various parts of Okinawa from which they originated. Shuri-te came from the area called Shuri near the old capital city of the Ryukyu Kingdom, becoming the styles now called Shotokan, Shorin-ryu, and Shito-ryu. Naha-te came from the area of Naha, which is now the capital city of the Okinawa Prefecture. This developed into such styles as Goju-ryu, Uechi-ryu, and Ryuei-ryu. Another region of Okinawan martial arts is Tomari, Okinawa, giving rise to Tomari-te. The styles originating from this region came to be called Wado-ryu and Matsubayashi-ryu.


Joko Ninomiya

The style of Kyokushin Karate, meaning "The Ultimate Truth," was founded by Masutatsu (Mas) Oyama, born in the year 1923 with the name Choi Yeong-eui in South Korea. He studied Chinese martial arts in Manchuria, China, and moved to Japan to participate in aviation school. He experienced much discrimination due to his Korean heritage, and decided to take the Japanese name Masutatsu Oyama and begin training in Shotokan karate. He acquired a black belt ranking, but was dissatisfied with the linear movements and the lack of focus on full-contact kumite (fighting). He began training with a fellow Korean who was a senior student of Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju-ryu karate. He acquired a yondan (4th-degree) black belt ranking, and soon began devising his own way of expressing the art of karate. He is said to have spent three years training in isolation on Mt. Minobu, employing a concept the samurai called shugyo; which means intense physical training meant to condition the body as well as the spirit. He opened his own dojo in 1953, calling it simply "Oyama Dojo." He put an emphasis on hard physical and mental conditioning, and kumite that included bare-knuckle contact, only omitting closed-fist strikes to the face and head. He soon acquired a group of dedicated students, and thus began the spread of his karate style (formally called "International Karate Organization (IKO) Kyokushin-kaikan") in 1957. Mas Oyama is said to have participated in a "300-man kumite," meaning that he fought 300 black-belt karateka, one after another, until no one could fight any longer. While Mas Oyama passed away from lung cancer in 1994, the spread of Kyokushin karate has had much success over the years; disseminating to dozens of countries and inspiring hundreds of thousands of karateka all around the world. Some choose to participate in full-contact tournaments to test their fighting skill, most notably the All Japan Full-Contact Karate Open Championships and the World Full-Contact Karate Open Championships, held once every 4 years.

Training in Kyokushin includes the "three K's" of karate training: Kihon (basics), Kata (forms), and Kumite (fighting). Anyone at any age and at any skill level can participate, as long as one is willing to work hard. In the words of Mas Oyama, Kyokushin is for "tempering the spirit in the fires of hard training."


Mas Oyama

Enshin kaikan is a style of knockdown karate founded in 1988 with dojo and students in various countries around the world. The core emphasis in Enshin is use of the Sabaki Method, a system of techniques employed with the goal of turning an opponent's power and momentum against him or her and repositioning oneself to the opponent's "blind" spot to counterattack from a more advantageous position. Although Enshin is a stand-up fighting style that includes kicks, strikes, and punches found in most other styles of karate, it also utilizes numerous grabs, sweeps, and throws often associated with judo or other grappling styles of martial arts.

Enshin was founded by Joko Ninomiya who directs the Enshin organization from the honbu in Denver, Colorado. The organization is noted for its annual tournament, the Sabaki Challenge, a full-contact, no pads/no gloves, knockdown karate rules competition held annually in Denver and open to advanced martial artists from any style or school.


Yang Chenfu

Yang style tai chi involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused, manner and accompanied by deep breathing. Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.

The long form consists of a sequence of 108 moves, and is useful for stretching and meditation, like other yoga forms. It generally takes a few months to learn, although the first section can be learned in a few weeks.


Aikido is sometimes called the non-violent martial art or even moving meditation. It is suitable both for the active child and for the child who would like to become more active. Aikido develops coordination, self-confidence, poise, and discipline in a friendly, noncompetitive atmosphere.

When taught and trained correctly it can be an effective martial art. However, it is also applicable to non-physical situations. Students learn not to escalate confrontations but rather try to resolve them in a manner that will reduce future negative physical or verbal encounters.

The children's program is for children 7 to 13. We offer children's classes on Monday through Thursday afternoons, from 5:00 to 5:45 pm. Parents or guardians may participate in the children's classes at no charge.

The first class is free!



*Aikido Uchideshi Camp: April 22 - April 28, arrive on any date.

*Aikido Tai Sai Seminar, The Basics and Beyond: April 24 - April 28


*Aikido Uchideshi Camp: April 22 - April 28

*Aikido Tai Sai Seminar, The Basics and Beyond: April 24 - April 28

Please click here to register for the upcoming Tai Sai Seminar.


Duke City Dojo

4312 Lomas Boulevard NE

Albuquerque, NM 87110

phone: +1 505.999.9696

email: info@dukecitydojo.com