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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. In 2013, Dee received the rank of yondan, or fourth degree black belt.

Over the years, Dee has been a welcome and regular sight at seminars across Florida and along the East Coast. To this day she continues to train on a regular basis. She attends on average six to eight seminars a year, and since 1997, has trained annually at the New York Aikikai, often staying at the dojo. She believes strongly in consistent training, especially after reaching black belt rank.

Dee is certified by the USAF as a Shidoin, and is the only certified Aikido instructor in north Florida. Her classes are characterized by an attention to ukemi, or rolling practice. She is known for her skill in receiving technique, and is passionate about imparting those lessons to her students.

Instructor, Jerry Akel Jerry Akel

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

Jerry counts among his influences Dee and Grady Lane Sensei, and is committed to applying their lessons on the mat. He favors energetic throws and atemi, and strong pins. Along with Dee, Jerry teaches the children’s class at the dojo.

"Aikido is a gift that my seniors continue to give me. It is a debt I can never repay."

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 the rank of nidan, or second degree black belt. Buck was introduced to the martial arts through Tae Kwon Do, under Grand Master Shin in Nashville, Tennessee. A dedicated practitioner of Vinyasa yoga, Buck’s classes emphasize flexibility and proper breathing.

Buck's Aikido career has spanned over twenty years, and has influenced many aspects of his life, including his professional career. 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, Kevin Johnston Kevin Johnston

Kevin began training in Aikido in 2009, and in 2017, received the rank of shodan, or first degree black belt. Kevin also holds a brown belt in Aikisambo under Kenji Nakazawa Sensei, and a blue belt in Brazilian jujitsu under James Smiley. He has trained in Japan at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, and at the United States Navy base in Yokosuka under Takao Hattori Sensei.

Off the mat Kevin is an artist and craftsman. Some of his work can be found at the dojo, on display, and for use during class. He credits his success in Aikido to Dee Sensei herself, in particular her creative and inventive approach to teaching.