Aikido of Missoula
Instructors at Aikido of Missoula


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James Garner, AOM Instructor

James Gardner

James began Aikido training with Hideki Shiohira Sensei in Mountain View, California in 1988. He joined Aikido of Missoula in 1992, when he moved to Missoula to take a position as emergency physician at St. Patrick Hospital. Aikido’s training of clear vision, sincerity and compassion continue to inspire James at work and in the dojo. In addition to Raso Sensei’s continuing guidance, James travels frequently to study with Saotome Shihan and Ikeda Shihan. He is particularly interested in the relationship between open hand training and weapons work.

Taku Okubo, AOM Instructor

Taku Okubo

Taku started Aikido in Chufo, Japan in 1992, and continued his studies at AOM when he came to the University of Montana in 1996. After graduating from the School of Business, he returned to get a second degree in Environmental Studies. He continues his interest in healthy food and community in his work as a manager at the Good Food Store. Vigor, clear technique and martial awareness characterize Taku’s training and teaching. He feels the discipline of regular training helps develop patience and gratitude, and allows us to learn creatively from our mistakes.


Dana Hay, AOM Instructor

Dana Hay

Dana began Aikido in 1992 at Aikido of Missoula. He was attracted to its nondestructive harmonizing philosophy. He particularly enjoys the blending movements of Aiki and exploring the edges of balance through connection, which at times feels magical and effortless. As an orthopedic nurse, Dana finds that his Aikido studies surrounding balance, space, body language and connection enhance and support his work. Whenever he can find the time, Dana will be roaming the woods, finding inspiration in the natural world.


Beth Schenk, AOM Instructor

Beth Schenk

Beth began Aikido training at AOM in the summer of 1994. The very first class was intriguing, and she’s been coming back ever since. A nurse with a PhD in environmental nursing and a masters degree in innovations in health care, she works to reduce the environmental impacts of healthcare and introduce healthy and sustainable practices into hospitals and communities. She is inspired by Aikido’s embodiment of natural harmony, and uses its principles in looking for peaceful and compassionate ways to live in the world and on the mat.


Additional instruction is provided by other AOM yudansha.