Martha Levensen Sensei's Aikido Influences

Martha's practice has been influenced by several teachers, including Jan Nevelius Sensei, Frank Ostoff Sensei, John Stevens Sensei, and Mitsugi Saotome Sensei. You may read about these instructors below.



Jan Nevelius Sensei

Jan Nevelius, 6th Dan, of Stockholm, Sweden began his aikido training in 1975 at the age of 11. From 1983 to 1986 he spend the majority of his time in Japan practicing aikido and studying both acupucture and shiatsu. He helped to found the Vanadis Aikido Dojo in Stockholm in 1994. Jan has spent the past fifteen years studying mainly with Endo Seishiro Shihan and Christian Tissier Shihan. Although he has practiced and studied with many teachers, it is to these two Shihan that he feels the deepest connection. He has served as chariman of the Swedish Budo Federation's Aikido Division, and currently serves as part of the Swedish Aikikai Testing Committee. He travels often, teaching throughout Europe, and in Israel and the U.S.

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Frank Ostoff Sensei

Frank Ostoff began his aikido training in 1980. His path lead him to the Aikido-Zen Institute of Gerhard Walter in Berlin. Intensive time as a Master Student (uchi-deshi) allowed Frank to further his training with Christian Tissier in Paris and Senseis Yamaguchi and Endo in Japan. In 1991 he opened the Aikido Dojo Düsseldorf and began teaching. In February 2002 Frank received his 5th dan from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan through his teacher, Shihan Seishiro Endo, 8th dan. During the last few years, Frank has been deepening his studies in Qigong by following Master Mantak Chia from Thailand and Prof. Zhang Guangde of the Beijing Universitiy of Physical Education. In January 2003 he was evaluated as a Certified Instructor of the Universal Tao System. Taking part in many international courses has created good contacts and friendship with many aikido teachers throughout Europe and Japan who support and help the work of his dojo.

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John Stevens Sensei

Photo by Gus McBride

John Stevens Sensei, 7th dan, Shihan, is a student of the late Rinjiro Shirata Sensei. Based in both Japan and Hawaii, Stevens Sensei is known not only as an aikido instructor, but also for his many books on aikido, which include The Way of Harmony, Budo, The Essence of Aikido, The Secrets of Aikido, Invincible Warrior, The Shambhala Guide to Aikido, and The Philosophy of Aikido.

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Mitsugi Saotome Sensei

Photo by Gus McBride

Mitsugi Saotome Shihan is a master in aikido, and was a direct student of the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba, O'Sensei. Saotome Shihan began training in aikido in 1958, as a live-in student of O'Sensei. After O'Sensei's death in 1969, Saotome Shihan began teaching at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. He was well respected as an instructor. Saotome Shihan relocated to the United States, and founded an organization known as the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba. He is the Chief Instructor within the organization, and travels extensively teaching seminars throughout the U.S. He is well known for his skill in the use of the jo and bokken, and has developed a system of working with two swords. Saotome Shihan makes his home at the Aiki Shrine Dojo in Myakka City, Florida. His publications include three books, Aikido and the Harmony of Nature, The Principles of Aikido, and Aikido: Living by Design.

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