Hans de Groot holds the rank of Godan (5th degree black belt). He has been practicing Japanese martial arts for over 35 years. He initially practiced Shotokan Karate (JKA) while in university, achieving the rank of Shodan. He began his study of Yoshinkan Aikido in 1994, after attending a public demonstration of the art by Takeshi Kimeda sensei (9th Dan AYF). He has been training under the supervision of Kimeda sensei since that time. He has also participated in numerous training clinics taught by many of Yoshinkan Aikido’s top national and international instructors. In the fall of 2018, he accompanied Kimeda sensei to Japan, and had the opportunity to train at the Yoshinkan Hombu (headquarters) Dojo in Tokyo, and at the Yoshinkan Aikido Mugenjuku Dojo in Kyoto.
Masao Imai (4th Dan AYF).
Masao Imai holds the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt). He began his study of Aikido at the Aikikai headquarters dojo in Tokyo under Ueshiba sensei in 1974. After emigrating to Canada in 1975, he began training under Kimeda sensei in Toronto. It was difficult for him to train regularly while working in London ON, but after resuming his regular training in Toronto he received his 2nd Dan in 1993. Returning to Japan in 1995 he joined the Yoshinkan Hombu (headquarters) dojo in Tokyo where he trained under two of the Yoshinkan’s top instructors: Inoue sensei and Chida sensei. He received his 4th Dan in 2004. After the 2006 organizational changes at the Yoshinkan headquarters he trained under Ito sensei until 2014. He recently joined AYO to resume his training in Yoshinkan Aikido.
Denis Chartrand (3rd Dan AYF).
Denis Chartrand holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree black belt). He has been practicing Aikido for over 20 years. A student of Kimeda sensei, he has attended numerous training clinics given by the Aikido Yoshinkai Foundation’s most senior instructors. He is an assistant instructor at AYO, and also teaches Yoshinkan Aikido in two Ottawa area high schools. He has resided in Japan, and has trained at the Yoshinkan Hombu (headquarters) Dojo in Tokyo.
Naoko Tanaka (2nd Dan AYF).
Naoko (Nana) Tanaka holds the rank of Nidan (2nd degree black belt). She has been practicing Aikido for over a decade. She has trained with Kimeda sensei on a number of occasions. In addition, she has attended training clinics taught by some of the Yoshinkan’s most senior national and international instructors. She has also had the opportunity to train at the Yoshinkan’s Hombu (headquarters) Dojo in Tokyo, and at the Yoshinkan Aikido Mugenjuku Dojo in Kyoto.