What is Aikido?

Aikido is a relatively new martial art that emphasizes harmonious interactions between people and their mental energy, and the taking of an opponent’s balance while maintaining correct posture. While practicing aikido, two people work together to complete a technique rather than fighting against each other. Students learn how to fall, roll, and how to turn and blend with an attacker’s force rather than blocking an incoming strike.

Aikido is a method of self- defense which can be used against any form of attack; it is the discipline of coordinating mind and body to realize all of one’s vital power.

In Aikido, we learn to render an attack harmless with no serious injury to the aggressor. It can be used lethally, however Aikido teaches that it is unnecessary to harm the attacker to prevail.

Aikido for Kids

Unshakable Confidence

No other activity can compare with martial arts training when it comes to instilling individual confidence. As a child progresses through our program, his or her increasing confidence enables her to excel in academic performance, reduce peer pressure, deter bullies, and use her skills for non-violent conflict resolution.

Improved Self-Discipline

Parents tell us that one of the main benefits they see from our program is the improvement in their child’s discipline & self-control. Our staff of professional and patient instructors finds the right balance between fun and discipline, setting clear limits on acceptable behavior. Instructors insist that students maintain this disciplined lifestyle in school and in daily life.

Birankai SC (altered) 6-10-12

Our Instructors

Our Aikido program is under Aikido of Chester County (www.aikidochesco.com). We are honored to offer world-class Aikido instruction from the following instructors.

Donovan Waite Sensei, 7th Dan

donovanwaite2Donovan Waite Sensei started practicing Aikido in 1969, at a very young age. As a 14 year old, he received his 1st Degree Black Belt from Ralph Reynolds Sensei who was under the direction of T.K. Chiba Sensei in Birmingham, England. Since then Waite Sensei has spent the last 37 years pursuing a deeper understanding of Aikido. Along that path, Waite Sensei has had the opportunity to train under many of Aikido’s foremost instructors. In 1984 he apprenticed himself to Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, chairman of the United States Aikido Federation and chief instructor of the New York Aikikai. For over ten years he was Uchi Deshi, or live-in student, under Yamada Sensei and he still holds a weekly teaching position at the New York Aikikai. Since 1997 Donovan Waite Sensei has been the chief instructor of Aikido of Center City.

He currently holds the rank of 7th Dan and is a certified Shihan, or Master Instructor, with both the United States Aikido Federation and the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Waite Sensei is one of the few, and one of the youngest, Westerners to reach this milestone. He also serves on the USAF Technical Committee.

In addition to his duties with the USAF and Aikido of Center City, Waite Sensei extensively travels the world teaching Aikido. He has conducted Aikido seminars in various cities of North, Central, & South America, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, & South East Asia. Waite Sensei is a full-time, professional martial artist who has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of Aikido.

Tony Fiore Sensei, 5th Dan

tfioreTony Fiore started practicing Aikido in 1982 at Temple University under the direction of Kancho Yukio Utada Shihan of Aikido Association of North America. When he moved from Philadelphia, PA to Coatesville, PA he continued his training with Sensei Jim Walsh Shidoin (certified instructor) Turks Head Aikikai and Sensei Donovan Waite, Shihan (Master instructor) then at New York Aikikai.

He achieved his Dan (black belt) ranks from Yoshimitsu Yamada, Shihan, while under the sponsorship and direction of Waite Sensei, who is currently the Chief instructor at Aikido of Center City, Aikido of Chester County and a member of the USAF technical committee.

Tony currently holds the rank of Godan (5th degree black belt) and is a Shidoin (Certified Instructor) with both the United States Aikido Federation and The Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Tony presently resides in Downingtown, PA with his wife Michele and his sons.

Ken Cadogan, 4th Dan

kcadoganKenneth Cadogan began his Aikido training in January of 1995 under the instruction of Jim Walsh, Shidoin. Shortly after that he realized that Aikido training was something he wanted to make a major part of his life.

He received his black belt from, Yoshimitsu Yamada, Shihan in December of 2000 and in 2001 he became a student of Donovan Waite, Shihan, whose instruction Kenneth attributes as the primary influence for way he practices and teaches Aikido today. He is one of the regular instructors at Aikido of Chester County.

Kenneth Currently holds the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) and is a member of the United States Aikido Federation.


Jennifer Yabut Sensei, 2nd Dan

Jen throwing Gordon Dec 2011‘Jen’ started her Aikido training in 2006 with Henry Smith at Aikikai of Philadelphia, and later trained with Skip Chapman at Jersey Shore Aikikai.  Jennifer continues to train extensively, attending over 20 seminars a year with Yamada Sensei and other senior Aikido instructors.  She also regularly visits New York Aikikai and other local dojos in addition to her seminar travels.

Jennifer is a Nidan (2nd degree black belt), earned under Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan (Chief Instructor and Technical Advisor of the United States Aikido Federation). 

Jennifer also has other martial arts experience. She took Tae Kwon Do as a teenager, and trained in Yagyu Shin Kage Ryu (a classical Japanese sword art) for five years under Paul Manogue, attaining the rank of Shodan (1st degree black belt) in the latter art.

Off the mat, Jennifer is a social worker, committed to helping others improve their lives.  She is also an avid CrossFitter, and occasionally participates in local competitions.

Seminars & Events

Please visit the Seminars page for more details on these events.

March 24-26 - Seminar with James Williams Sensei

April 22 - Iaido Seminar with Shihan Roger
May 5-7 - Seminar with James Williams Sensei

Class Schedule