BOARD OF INSTRUCTORS
Shinjinkai is led by persons who have a direct training relationship with Moore Sensei or another of our teachers. Shinjinkai is a member dojo in good standing of our national organization, Aikido Shimbokukai.
The roots of Shinjinkai go back to the early 1980's, when the original Shinjinkan dojo (our headquarters) was established by the famous Aikido and Zen master, Tenzan (Fumio) Toyoda Sensei. In 1991, Toyoda Sensei appointed his principal student Meido Moore Sensei as the chief instructor. Moore Sensei founded Shinjinkai as a community in 2002, and today he continues to guide it along with a cadre of teachers, and senior students. We’re extremely proud to share some of their stories with you, and if you have any questions or remarks - get in touch.
TENZAN TOYODA ROKOJI ( FUMIO TOYODA SENSEI, 1947-2001)
Raised and trained in Japan, the late Aikido and Zen master Tenzan (Fumio) Toyoda arrived in Chicago in 1974 and immediately set to work spreading the teachings of Japanese martial arts and Zen. He stated that his dream was to found three major training halls in America, to be named Tenshinkan, Shinjinkan, and Ryoshinkan. In the meantime he also built an organization of more than 100 affiliated schools around the world training under his guidance.
Well known for his powerful technique and charismatic teaching style, Toyoda Sensei was a popular teacher; his students number in the thousands, and he influenced entire generations of Aikido practitioners in several nations. He was additionally instrumental in the transmission of an important Rinzai Zen lineage - the line of the great Zen, sword and calligraphy master Omori Sogen - to the West.
Toyoda Sensei's dream of three dojo was finally fulfilled in 1997, only a few years before his death. One of the three, Shinjinkan, continues today. Building upon Toyoda Sensei's lifelong work of transmitting authentic Japanese martial art
and Zen teachings to the West, we dedicate our efforts to his memory.
MEIDO ZENTETSU MOORE
Shinjinkai Founder, Abbot, Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery
Meido Moore Sensei began Aikido training in 1986 at the age of 18. In 1990 he was invited by the Aikido and Zen master Tenzan Toyoda Sensei to Chicago, where he began the first of six years residence as uchideshi (live-in apprentice) under that teacher. In 1991 he was appointed Chief Instructor of the original Shinjinkan Dojo.
Mr. Moore went on to serve as General Manager and later Director of Toyoda Sensei's organizations, the Aikido Association of America and Aikido Association International, and served for 10 years as Toyoda Sensei's otomo (personal attendant). He was certified Fukushidoin (assistant Aikido instructor) in 1991, Shidoin (full Aikido instructor) in 1996, and Shihandai ("representative of the master", the highest instructional title awarded by Toyoda Sensei) in 1997. He served as dojo-cho (manager) of the Ryoshinkan, Toyoda Sensei's international headquarters dojo; and in 1999 Toyoda Sensei designated Moore and another uchideshi (Mr. Marc Pandolfi) as his two successors, with responsibility for carrying and transmitting his teachings. To fulfill that responsibility, Moore Sensei founded Shinjinkai in 2002.
Moore Sensei has instructed several hundred seminars, retreats, and training camps at Aikido schools, universities (Northwestern University, University of Chicago, DePaul University, Notre Dame), corporations (Motorola), fitness and community centers, and other venues throughout the United States and in Canada, Japan, England, Germany, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Latvia, Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria and Trinidad. In both private and agency-sponsored trainings he has additionally instructed federal, state and local law-enforcement officers in the United States, as well as military, government security, intelligence and anti-terrorist units internationally. He has served professionally as a law enforcement officer for the state of Illinois. His specific self-defense instruction for women was featured on several episodes of the Emmy award-winning NBC television series Starting Over. Moore Sensei holds the rank of rokudan (6th degree) in Aikido, and was additionally certified as
an Aikido teacher (Shidoin) by T.K. Chiba Shihan in 2006. He has also been a student of several classical traditions of Japanese bujutsu.
In 2003 Moore Sensei was ordained in the Zen Buddhist tradition. A Rinzai Zen lineage holder, he today serves as abbot of Korinji, a rural monastery near Madison, WI, and as guiding teacher of the Madison Rinzai Zen Community. He continues his personal martial art practice, serving on the advisory board of Aikido Shimbokukai.
Moore Sensei's book 'The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice' was released by Shambhala Publications in March 2018.
Meido Roshi's next book 'Hidden Zen' also by Shambhala Publications, will be released on October 13, 2020, and is now available for pre-order.
Chairman, 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.
Dojo-cho, Zanshinkan (Northwestern Aikido Club)
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 yondan (4rd degree) in Aikido.
Dojo-cho, Gendokan/Genseikan (Great Lakes Aikido)
Michael Malitsky has been with Shinjinkai from the very beginning. 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.
Aikido Instructor, Gendokan (Great Lakes 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.
Aikido Instructor, Shinjinkai
Matt Wever is an instructor at Shinjinkai 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 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.
Aikido Instructor, Shinjinkai
Santiago Santana is an instructor at Shinjinkai in Chicago. He began Aikido training under Moore Sensei in 2005, and received Fukushidoin in 2020. He holds the rank of nidan (2nd degree) in Aikido.
Aikido Instructor, Genseikan
Algirdas Sindaravicius began training with Moore Sensei in 1998 as a child, and has continued his practice since that time. He holds the rank of nidan (2nd degree) in Aikido, and serves as an instructor at Great Lakes Aikido (Gendokan) Dojo in Vernon Hills, IL.
Aikido Instructor, Shinjinkai
Jim Tabor is an instructor at Shinjinkai 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.
DAWN (SEION) VANDEVER
Aikido Instructor, Shinjinkai
Dawn (Seion) Vandever is an instructor at Shinjinkai in Chicago. She began Aikido training in 2014 and formal koan training under the guidance of So'zan Daitetsu (Miller) in 2017. Seion holds the rank of shodan (1st degree) in Aikido.
Chief Instructor, Iaido, Shinjinkai
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.
LAURENCE (KOGETSU) SMITH
Instructor, Seitei Jodo, Atarashii Naginata/Tendo Ryu Naginatajutsu, Shinjinkai
Laurence (Kogetsu) Smith,is an instructor at Shinjinkai, and since 2006 has trained under the direction of both Niina Toyoaki-sensei, the soke (headmaster) of Meishi-ha Mugai Ryu Iaihyodo, Briant Pettett-sensei, and Tony Alvarez-sensei, head of the United States Federation of Mugai Ryu. He holds the rank of godan (5th degree) within the Meishi-ha lineage, he has been granted okuiri-sho, a traditional license to practice the inner, advanced-level techniques of Mugai Ryu. In 2010, he became a student of Takami Tanner sensei of the Rocky Mountain Naginata Federation in Atarashii Naginata and Bitokukai Tendo Ryu Naginatajutsu. He was also fortunate to become a jodo practitioner under Peter Boylan Sensei of the Michigan Koryu Kenkyukai, where Laurence is shodan (1st degree) in Seitei Jodo (All United States Kendo Federation). Laurence also trains in Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo’s Fuzoku Ryuha (Assimilated Schools), Shinto ryu kenjutsu & Uchida ryu Tanjo jutsu. To compliment his budo training, he is Assistant Teacher (1st level) in the Ohara School of Ikebana, under 2nd Associate Master/Instructor Margot Wang.
Instructor, Taijutsu, Shinjinkai
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.