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Two Rivers Aikikai strives to be an Equitable Dojo.

Instructors and Board Members

Steps we are taking to be an Equitable Dojo

Over the last several months, our dojo's Board of Directors and instructors have come together to articulate and codify our Mission, Vision and Values. This effort has been brought about because of societal issues like the Me Too Movement and Black Lives Matter. To us, Aikido has become more than the physical practice of a martial art because its philosophy of harmonizing with an aggressor can be used to resolve conflicts off the mat. We want to make sure that the service we provide our students lives up to the standards of a just and peaceful society. This is a work in progress as we strive to be a more equitable dojo. Here is a look at what we have come up with to date.

Our Mission: Two Rivers Aikikai helps individuals on their path of well-being of mind, body and spirit through the practice of the Japanese martial arts of Aikido, Iaido and Karatedo to peacefully engage conflict.

Our Vision: Justice, equity and non-violence - on and off the mat.

Our Values:

  • Continuity: We honor the legacy of our teachers and our teachers' teachers by studying martial arts and their evolution.
  • Commitment: We teach, practice, and persevere, undeterred by internal and external barriers.
  • Curiosity: We seek self-awareness, awareness of others, and new frames of reference.
  • Courage: We embrace risks and uncertainty, even when faced with challenges to our own perspectives.
  • Caring: We display kindness and concern for others and ourselves as we fall and get up to try again.
  • Community: Together, we learn from, give voice to, and support each other, all while having fun.
TRA has a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination or harassment of anyone based on their identity, and no one in the dojo is beyond reproach.
TRA is a safe haven where members of any and all identities in any combination can feel normal. At the same time, TRA realizes that racial justice does not come about with race neutral policies and that Black Lives Matter. TRA's instructors and Board Members are required to go through antiracist training. TRA's support for antiracism allows members to develop their strengths and helps them realize and overcome weaknesses. Antiracism is essential for complete non-violent philosophy and the well-being of humanity.
Kanai Sensei - photo by Jessica Boyatt. TRA has set up a lending library of books on antiracism for its members to borrow. Authors include Isabel Wilkerson, Heather McGhee, Ibram X. Kendi and Tricia Rose. We are purchasing books from Third Eye Books, a Black owned bookstore in Portland, OR.
TRA's Rules of Practice codifies our belief that every student should feel respected and trusted during practice, and able to set boundaries in order to have agency over their training. Rank does not give anyone power over others.
TRA has a Board of Directors (listed below) with members from dan and kyu ranks. This gives a voice on the Board to all members of the dojo regardless of rank. This is one way in which traditional values placed on hierarchy, loyalty, conformity and silence become less important.
TRA's high quality Aikido requires equity, cooperation and non-violent physical or verbal reactions to an attack. High quality Aikido is the way to absorb and redirect the energy or ki of the attacker in order to de-escalate conflict.
TRA's instructors teach for a variety of body size and learning styles. Our dojo emphasizes the late Mitsunari Kanai shihan's style of Aikido and Iaido that utilizes a unified body which allows people of all sizes and strengths to develop their inner power and to progress through the ranks. Kanai Sensei was an uchi deshi of Morehei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido and gives our dojo a direct link to O Sensei and the origins of Aikido.
TRA is a non-profit charitable organization with a scholarship fund supported by tax deductible donations to admit members from any socio-economic background.
TRA's leadership cultivates a joyful and cooperative atmosphere in the dojo.
TRA continues to look inward to find ways to improve our effect on members of our community.

Our Mural: Rising Up

Rising Up
We take pride in our mural painted by Portland Artist Christa Grimm. Two Rivers Aikikai chose Christa to paint the new mural called Rising Up after a considerable search for an artist who could create a mural which embodied our goals of practicing non-violence in body, mind and spirit. The mural represents perseverance and connection to meet life's challenges with the support of our environment and community. The mural's imagery of a migrating salmon, water currents, and cyclical forces resonates with the notions of blending, pliancy, giving and receiving, all of which are qualities practiced at Two Rivers Aikikai.

Portland artist Christa Grimm creates murals, paintings and large scale site-specific commissions for both public and private clients. Alive with color, movement and strong, confident brush strokes her images celebrate natural beauty and human vitality.
Click here to visit her website - www.christagrimm.com/

Chief Instructors at Two Rivers Aikikai

At Festival Japan Iaido and Aikido demonstration Sept. 2008.

Spiros Koyanis sensei (he, him), 6th Dan in Aikido and 5th Dan in Iaido is a direct student of the late Mitsunari Kanai Shihan and practiced under Kanai Sensei's guidance for twenty one years. Spiros sensei began his training at New England Aikikai in 1983 and has been teaching Aikido to adults and children since 1989. In 2001, he became Chief Instructor of Two Rivers Aikikai. He is a firm believer in the effectiveness of non violence and as such honors the memory of Kanai Sensei in his instruction by paying close attention to Kanai Sensei's dynamic theories of the unified body and the interaction between uke's ki and nage's blending and redirecting of that ki based on budo. Spiros sensei believes that Aikido is a fluid martial art that continues to grow and change with more emphasis placed on equity both on and off the mat. His Aikido classes often include practice with bokken, jo and tanto (wooden weapons) because the precision required with weapons complements and enhances our style of Aikido which pays close attention to "ma-ai" both before and after an Aikido technique allowing for the effectiveness of non-violence as self defense.

In Iaido, our instructors teach Muso Shinden Ryu style under the guidance of Claude Berthiaume Sensei. Our dojo is a member of Kiyoikaze Iaido Federation whose purpose is to develop and guide the instruction of Iaido as established by Mitsunari Kanai Sensei and carried on by Technical Director, Claude Berthiaume Shihan. More information on our Iaido program is available on our About Iaido page

Kanai Sensei and Lynn Marshall at Summer Camp 2002

Lynn Marshall sensei (she, her), 6th Dan in Aikido, is also a direct student of Mitsunari Kanai Shihan. Lynn Sensei practiced karate for a year before starting Aikido at New England Aikikai in 1985. Lynn sensei's extension and precision demonstrate that one does not have to be big to be effective. Her ability to break down a technique and focus on details gives students a lot to think about and work with in the beginner and basics program at Two Rivers. Lynn sensei has been practicing at Two Rivers Aikikai since July 1998. She teaches a wide variety of techniques and often includes bokken suburi and jo kata in her classes. With a strong emphasis on fundamental foundation of techniques, Lynn sensei demonstrates advanced techniques with clarity and precision for students in mixed level classes. She is a reliable reference for students preparing for kyu and dan tests. In addition to Aikido, Lynn sensei practices yoga and brings a wealth of knowledge to our students about proper stretching to gain flexibility and strength and to prevent injury.

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Instructors and Assistant Instructors at Two Rivers Aikikai

Aikido instructors are ranked Nidan or above. Assistant instructors are ranked shodan or above.

  • Chief Instructors:
  • Spiros Koyanis (he, him) rokudan in Aikido
  • Lynn Marshall (she, her) rokudan in Aikido
  • Aikido Instructors:
  • Alex Nelson (he, him), sandan in Aikido
  • Teri Pierson (she, her), sandan in Aikido
  • Michael Boeder (he, him), nidan in Aikido
  • David Goldberger (he, him), nidan in Aikido
  • Assistant Instructors:
  • Vagrant Rittman (they, none) shodan
  • Lisa Baubock (they, them) shodan
  • Jim McKeon (he,him) shodan
  • Chris Garner (he, him) yondan (in training)
  • Jennifer Key (she, her) nidan (in training)
Iaido instructors are ranked sandan or above.
  • Spiros Koyanis (he, him) Chief Instructor, godan in Iaido
  • Michael Boeder (he, him), sandan in Iaido
Karate instructors are ranked nidan or above.
  • Te-Yu Ruth Chang (she, her), sandan in Karate
  • Mick O'Connell ( he, him), sandan in Karate
  • Eli Patterson (he, him), nidan in Karate

Two Rivers Aikikai's Board of Directors

Board members are active members of the dojo according to our By-Laws.

  • Shaunna O'Brien (she, her), yonkyu in Aikido, President
  • Michael Boeder (he, him), nidan in Aikido and sandan in Iaido, Vice President
  • Lisa Baubock (they, them), shodan in Aikido, Secretary
  • Jules Partain (they, them), sankyu in Aikido, Treasurer
  • Teri Pierson (she, her), sandan in Aikido, Head of Equity Committee
  • Alex Nelson (he, him), sandan in Aikido, Director
  • Spiros Koyanis (he, him), rokudan in Aikido, godan in Iaido and Chief Instructor

Our Facilities

It's a big mat.

Two Rivers Aikikai occupies a former futon factory on Southeast Belmont Street. It took several months of hard work to clean and renovate the space. Our Tokonoma and 1500 square foot mat were built by our students. Part of our training includes sweeping the mat after class and keeping the dojo clean and neat.

We have separate dressing rooms with showers for men and women and an accessible restroom with a shower. Two Rivers Aikikai supports each person's right to choose which changing room they use.

We are very proud of our dojo and invite you to stop by to observe class. Our address is 2950 SE Belmont Street, Portland, OR 97214

Tokonoma at Two Rivers Aikikai

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E-mail Two Rivers Aikikai: tworivers@2rivers.org

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Two Rivers Aikikai is a 501(c)(3) federal non-profit organization with a vision for equity, justice and non-violence on and off the mat. Our mission is to help individuals on their path of well-being of mind, body and spirit through the practice of the Japanese martial arts of Aikido, Iaido and Karatedo to peacefully engage conflict.