Board of Instructors
John Mazza has studied various martial arts for 50 years. He began his training in Korea in 1964 studying Judo; this experience led to a deepening interest in Asian philosophies and meditation, which he began to study intensively upon returning to the United States. Realizing that his personal life path involved a disciplined practice of the martial Way, he immersed himself in the practice of various arts from that time forward.
Following his experience of Judo, Mr. Mazza intensively studied various styles of karate and Chinese martial arts. Feeling that there was still something lacking in his training, he began to explore Aikido. In August, 1977 he met the late Fumio Toyoda Shihan, and realized immediately that he had found the art and teacher he wished to follow; by September of 1977 he had relocated to Chicago, where he began an intensive study of both Aikido and Zen.
Mazza Sensei has served as President of Aikido International Foundation, a member of the Aikido Association of American national teaching committee, and as a Director of Aikido Association of America and Aikido Association International. He has been the Chief Instructor of the Northwestern University Aikido Club (Zanshinkan Dojo) for many years since its founding by Toyoda Sensei in 1974. He was awarded the teaching certfication of Shihandai (master's assistant) by Toyoda Sensei. Today he continues his activity with Shinjinkai, holding the rank of rokudan (6th degree) in Aikido. He is active teaching at Shinjinkai's various branches, and serves as the chairman of our board of instructors.
Craig Bina Sensei is a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at Northwestern University;
a frequent visiting professor in Japan (where he can sometimes be found climbing to remote mountain retreats), and has long served as faculty advisor of the Northwestern Aikido Club, Zanshinkan Dojo.
Mr. Bina began training in Aikido with Fumio Toyoda Shihan at Tenshinkan Dojo in Chicago in 1980. He later trained at the Jiyūgaoka Dojo of Hiroshi Tada Shihan in Tokyo, Japan, at the Shobukan Dojo of Mitsugi Saotome Shihan in Washington, D.C., and at the Kokikai Dojo of Shuji Maruyama Shihan in Princeton, New Jersey, all while returning periodically to Chicago to continue training with Toyoda Shihan, who awarded him the rank of nidan and the title of Fukushidoin. In recent
years he has been an occasional visitor at the Fudoshin Dojo of Václav Kubát Sensei in Prague, Czech Republic (affiliated with Masatomi Ikeda Shihan), while continuing training under the supervision of Mazza Sensei in Evanston. He holds the rank of sandan (3rd degree) in Aikido.
Michael Malitsky Sensei began Aikido training in 1994 while studying at Northwestern University, where an Aikido club was founded by our late teacher, Toyoda Sensei in 1974. He practiced under the guidance of John Mazza Sensei in Toyoda Sensei's organization (the Aikido Association of America), as well as teachers from other organizations.
In 2002 he became an assistant instructor under Meido Moore Sensei and today serves as the primary instructor and dojo-cho (manager) at Genseikan, our branch in Prospect Heights, IL,
and at Great Lakes Aikido (Gendokan) in Vernon HIlls, IL. Michael holds the rank of yondan
(4th degree) in Aikido.
Matt Lowry has studied the martial arts consistently for over 25 years, beginning his studies in karate, tae kwon do, and kung fu, before turning his practice to Aikido; studying under Meido Moore Sensei and other instructors in the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, and the Aikido Association of America. He finds the emphasis in aikido practice on basic body movement (tai sabaki), positioning (maai), blending (musubi), and balance/awareness (zanshin) to be fundamental to the study of any martial art. He currently holds the rank of nidan (second-degree black belt) in Aikido, and is an instructor at Great Lakes Aikido (Gendokan) in Vernon Hills, IL.
Andrew Anderson is an instructor at Shinjinkai H.Q. in Chicago where he leads our early morning classes. He began Aikido training at Toyoda Sensei's Tenshinkan Dojo in 1998, and holds the rank of nidan (2nd degree) in Aikido.
Matt Wever is an instructor at Shinjinkai H.Q. in Chicago. He additionally leads the study group for our Chicago Shinbukan Kuroda Ryugi program. He began Aikido training under Moore Sensei in 2005, and has completed three years residence as uchideshi (live-in trainee). He holds the rank of nidan (2nd degree) in Aikido.
Keizan Murray is an instructor at Shinjinkai H. Q. in Chicago, where he also serves as dojo-cho (manager). He additionally leads our Youth Aikido Program.
Mr. Murray has studied various martial arts for 37 years; 10 of which as apart of the United States Marine Corps. He began his training in 1980 studying Wu Xing Ba Fa Quan; which opened the doorway to meditation and Asian philosophy. Dedicating his life to a disciplined practice of the Martial Way, he began other arts such as Baqua and Wing Chun. In 1995 while stationed in Japan, he found Aikido and Zen, instantly realizing he found the art he long sought for. Upon returning
to Chicago in 2005 Mr. Murray began formal training in both Aikido and Rinzai Zen under Moore Sensei, as well as Mugai Ryu Iaihyodo under Pettet Sensei. He received Fukushidoin in 2011,
and in 2017, zaike tokudo (lay ordination) and jukai (taking precepts) in Rinzai Zen, under Moore Sensei. He holds the rank of sandan (3rd degree) in Aikido, and shodan (1st degree) in Meishi-ha Mugai Ryu Iaihyodo.
Santiago Santana is an instructor at Shinjinkai H.Q. in Chicago. He began Aikido training under Moore Sensei in 2005, and holds the rank of nidan (2nd degree) in Aikido.
Richard Bryant is an instructor at Shinjinkai H.Q. in Chicago. He began formal Aikido training under Moore Sensei in 2004. He holds the rank of sandan (3rd degree) in Aikido. He currently resides on the Island of Trinidad where he has founded, and leads, Jinshinkan Dojo in Newtown, Port of Spain.
Jim Tabor is an instructor at Shinjinkai H.Q. in Chicago. He began Aikido training at Toyoda Sensei's Shinjinkan Dojo in 1993 and Zen training with Rev. Kogen Ryutoku (Nagel) in 1995. He has taught Aikido classes at Oakton Community College, along with Aikido and self-defense courses for the Tinley Park and Brookfield park districts. He became a certified Zentherapy Practitioner under founder Dub Leigh in 1997. He began formal koan training under the guidance of So'zan Daitetsu (Miller) in 2005 and Iaido training in 2015 with Brian Pettet Sensei. Jim holds the rank of sandan (3rd degree) in Aikido.
Brian Pettett, Iaido Chief Instructor, Chicago location, has led the Mugai Ryu Iaihyodo program at Shinjinkai since 2005 under the direction of both Niina Toyoaki-sensei, the soke (headmaster) of Meishi-ha Mugai Ryu Iaihyodo, and Tony Alvarez-sensei, head of the United States Federation of Mugai Ryu. He holds the rank of rokudan (6th degree) within the Meishi-ha lineage, and is one of Niina-gosoke's four jikimon-deshi (or direct students) in the United States. He has been granted okuiri-sho, a traditional license to practice the inner, advanced-level techniques of Mugai Ryu. In 2013, he was awarded renshi, or his formal instructor's license.
James Morganelli is a Chicago-based writer, consultant, teacher, and trainer. He has studied martial arts for 40 years, including Eastern and Western styles, and lived and trained in Tokyo, Japan for a period of three years. He has held certification in Verbal Defense and Influence from the Verbal Judo Institute, is a master instructor in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, and is a staff member at Resolution Group International; an organization of professional conflict resolution experts, dedicated to teaching ethical, verbal, and physical skills to civilians, law enforcement, and the military. His first published work, 'The Protector Ethic: Morality, Virtue, and Ethics in the Martial Way,' from
YMAA Publication Center, is now available.