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Aikido Center of Jacksonville

Chief Instructor, Dee Seabolt Dee Seabolt

Dee began her Aikido training in 1996. Searching for a martial art that suited her, she was drawn to the fluidity and dynamic movement she saw in Aikido. She was also encouraged by the cooperative spirit she found in the dojo. Dee assumed the position of dojo manager in 1998, and chief instructor in 2001.

Since that time, Dee has attended over one hundred seminars throughout the East Coast and Canada. To this day she continues to train on a regular basis. She attends on average six to eight seminars a year, and trains annually for a few weeks at the New York Aikikai, where she stays at the dojo. She is certified by the USAF as a Shidoin, and is the only certified Aikido instructor in north Florida. Dee believes strongly in consistent and dedicated training, especially after reaching shodan rank.

Instructor, Mike Sands Mike Sands

Mike has been practicing Aikido since 1986. He began his training under the direction of Lorraine DiAnne Sensei, a student of T.K. Chiba Sensei, then in the USAF Western region. During this time, he also received his shodan rank in Iaido. In 1998, Mike moved to Jacksonville and has since become an invaluable addition to our school.

Mike has a particular interest in weapons, especially the sword. His classes are characterized by energetic throws, and an emphasis on posture and centering. He attributes his style to his sword training, as well as lessons learned from Chiba Sensei and his students. In addition to Aikido, Mike has studied Tae Kwon Do, Ishin Ryu Karate, and Goju Kai Karate.

Off the mat Mike is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at Shands Hospital.

Instructor, John Miller John Miller

John began practicing Aikido in 1982 at The Aikido Center of Atlanta, under Rodney Grantham Sensei. He later relocated to Iowa, where he continued his training in the Midwest Aikido Federation under Akira Tohei Sensei. After a time he returned to the East Coast, and began training under Clyde Takeguchi Sensei. It was under Takeguchi Sensei that John received his shodan rank.

John later received instruction at Dogwood Aikikai in Atlanta, before joining our school in 2003. In 2008 he received his nidan rank. In addition to Aikido, John is a longstanding practitioner of transcendental meditation.

John moved to New Mexico in March 2011, where he now trains and meditates.

Instructor, Buck Pittman Buck Pittman

Buck began his formal Aikido training in 1995. He first studied under Chris Rozett at the Aikido Center of Jacksonville, and now continues his training under Dee. In 2014 he received his nidan rank. Buck was introduced to the martial arts through Tae Kwon Do, under Grand Master Shin in Nashville, Tennessee.

Buck's Aikido career has spanned over twenty years, and has influenced many aspects of his life, including his professional life. The grace and symmetry found in Aikido can also be found in his work as a landscape architect, in particular the spiral and circular forms.

Instructor, Jerry Akel Jerry Akel

Jerry began training in Aikido in 2001. Since that time, he has attended over seventy seminars and has trained with Dee as a guest at the New York Aikikai. In 2017, Jerry received the rank of sandan. He is certified by the USAF as a Fukushidoin.

Jerry counts among his primary influences Dee and Grady Lane Sensei. He is an active contributer to our school blog, and edits our monthly newsletter. "Aikido is a gift that my seniors continue to give me. It is a debt I can never fully repay."