Our Instructors

Our Founding & Chief Instructor

Aikido's Top Instructors in the Charlotte area.

Sensei D. Main, 6th Dan, Shihan (In Memoriam)

Main Sensei, (1946-2021) Founding Instructor spent his life studying & teaching the Japanese Martial Art of Aikido. In 1989, he started Aikido of Charlotte & with over 51 years of practice, he was the senior-most Aikido teacher in the Charlotte area & advanced to the rank of Rokudan (6th Degree Black Belt) as recognized by the United States Aikido Federation and the Aikikai World Headquarters (Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan) joining a small group of aikido teachers in the world to reach that level.  In August 2021, he was notified that the 2022 New Year's promotions from Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan would include his appointment to Shihan (Master Instructor), another milestone shared by very few. To his students, he was known as Sensei & was well-liked & respected in the Aikido Community for his powerful wrist lock techniques, kindness & shared that with many students over his lifetime.

Aikido's Top Instructors in the Charlotte area.

Sensei J. Weiner, 5th Dan, Shidoin

Weiner Sensei, Chief Instructor & Dojo Cho has been studying Aikido for over 20 years and currently holds the rank of Godan (5th Degree Black Belt) as recognized by the United States Aikido Federation and the Aikikai World Headquarters (Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan). Weiner Sensei is also a Shidoin (certified senior instructor) appointed by the USAF and Aikikai World Headquarters.  Weiner Sensei oversees rank promotion and testing at Aikido of Charlotte and has attended over 130 seminars in the past 20 years learning from many Shihan (Master Teachers). He also actively teaches Self Defense Workshops to corporations & organizations such as Newell, TIAA, Real Estate companies as well as various associations.  His credentials also include NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Certified Range Safety Officer (RSO), and is a Certified Glock Armorer.  Jonathan is the Owner of 360 Visuals, Inc. a Video Production Agency.

Assistant Instructors

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Kazuhito Ozu Sensei"
Senior Instructor
has been studying Aikido for the past 25 years with 10 years at Hombu Dojo.  He was promoted to Yondan in December 2016 (4th Degree Black Belt) as recognized by the USAF (United States Aikido Federation) and Aikikai World Headquarters.  He is a Sales Coordinator with Oiles America Corporation.

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Jim Hyde Sensei
Certified Instructor
has been studying Aikido for the past 15 years. He was promoted to Sandan in February 2020 (3rd Degree Black Belt) as recognized by the USAF (United States Aikido Federation) and Aikikai World Headquarters.  Hyde Sensei is also a Fukushidoin (certified instructor) appointed by the USAF.  He teaches the Tuesday ‘Ukemi Basics’ class. He is a Lead Engineer for Duke Energy.

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Steve Brandon
Assistant Instructor
has been studying Aikido for the past 20 years. He was promoted to Nidan in April 2012 (2nd Degree Black Belt) as recognized by the USAF (United States Aikido Federation) and Aikikai World Headquarters.  Steve Brandon has also been a Sergeant and Police Officer for the last 18 years and teaches Defensive tactics for his department.

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Ed Haponik
Assistant Instructor
has been studying Aikido for the past 15 years. He was promoted to Nidan in February 2016 (2nd Degree Black Belt) as recognized by the USAF (United States Aikido Federation) and Aikikai World Headquarters (Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan). Ed is a world-class Yo-yo competitor and Iaido practitioner.

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Brent Goodroe
Assistant Instructor
has been studying Aikido for the past 8 years.He was promoted to Shodan in February 2018 (1st Degree Black Belt) as recognized by the USAF (United States Aikido Federation). Brent is also an NRA Pistol Instructor, NRA RSO and Certified Glock Armorer. He owns a Home Theater Installation company.

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Matthew Ladenheim, Kenshusei (Instructor in Training) has been studying Aikido for the past 12 years. He was promoted to Shodan in February 2019 (1st Degree Black Belt) as recognized by the USAF (United States Aikido Federation). Matthew is also an attorney and partner at Trego, Hines & Ladenheim.

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Jim Plunkett, Kenshusei (Instructor in Training) started practicing Aikido in 1987.  He was promoted to Shodan in February 2020 (1st Degree Black Belt) as recognized by the USAF (United States Aikido Federation) and Aikikai World Headquarters (Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan).  Jim is also a Cybersecurity Program Manager at Allstate Insurance.

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Jack Freund, Kenshusei (Instructor in Training) has been studying Aikido for the past 8 years. He was promoted to Shodan in February 2020 (1st Degree Black Belt) as recognized by the USAF (United States Aikido Federation).  He is Head of Cyber Risk Methodology for Cyber Assessments, Inc.