Meet the Instructors

NICK WALKER SENSEI, 7th dan, co-founder and senior instructor of the Aiki Arts Center, has been practicing and teaching Aikido for over four decades. Nick Sensei’s approach to the art draws upon many years of training in several styles of Aikido and a variety of other transformative disciplines and practices, including zen, physical theatre, and somatic psychology.

Outside the dojo, Nick Sensei is a professor of Somatic Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies, an author of both fiction and nonfiction, and a speaker and educator on the intersections of embodiment, diversity, creativity, and transformative learning. For more about Nick Sensei’s approach to Aikido, see this 2011 interview and this 2020 interview.



AZZIA WALKER SENSEI, 5th dan, is co-founder and manager of the Aiki Arts Center, and the instructor for our Friday evening classes.

Azzia Sensei studied philosophy at U.C. Berkeley. When she’s not at the dojo, she works in sales at SCS Global Services, an environmental standard-holding company.

Check out this interview with Azzia Sensei for more about her approach to Aikido and teaching.



ALAN HODGES SENSEI, 4th dan, first started learning Aikido in high school, from an English teacher in a dance studio. After training for many years in a different style of aikido, Alan Sensei fell in love with the Aiki Arts Center at first sight.

“Our motto, ‘always train in a spirit of joy,’ surprised me at first,” Alan Sensei says, “because I had not heard anyone say that about Aikido before. Then I realized how well it reminds us where to start when we’ve lost our way. Everything we do builds up from that principle.” See this interview for more about Alan Sensei’s approach to aikido.

Alan Sensei works as an environmental engineer, investigating and cleaning up pollution in soil and groundwater.


Steve Tomich Sensei, 4th dan, was drawn to the nonviolent and positive aspects of Aikido in his twenties, and began training in earnest at the Aiki Arts Center in his fifties. See this interview for more about Steve Sensei’s history with Aikido and his perspective on training.

“The difference between wanting to train and successfully training is a supportive dojo community, and that’s what I’ve found at the Aiki Arts Center.”

Steve Sensei is a longtime TV producer, and you may see him running around the mat with a camera, shooting video for the dojo’s YouTube channel.