History of the AWR dojo

Aikido West Reading Dojo history

AWR was founded in its current location in 1991 by Byron Mellinger Sensei and was originally affiliated with Aikido Kinokawa. In 1992, after a break with Aikido Kinokawa, AWR became affiliated with the American Aikido Association (AAA), which was founded and directed by Toyoda Sensei. In 1993, AWR became affiliated with the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (ASU), founded and directed by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan. AWR continues to be affiliate with the ASU, and is connected to Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan, through this affiliation.

In 1999, Byron Sensei decided to retire from teaching and practicing aikido and left AWR in the hands of its students. In the summer of 1999, the students formed the Board of Directors and began leading the dojo as a student-run organization. The Board is currently comprised of four senior members of the dojo who regularly teach classes, organize seminars, arrange for social events, and oversee the maintenance and care of the dojo. Current Board members are Rick Dunn, Eric Webber, Michael Harrell, Christine Moore, Bob Ferrara, and Chris Kostaras.

After the departure of Byron Sensei in 1999, the senior students of AWR turned to other area ASU Sensei for guidance and instruction, including David Goldberg Sensei of Seishinkan Dojo (formerly Norristown, presently Fort Washington), and Dan Messisco Sensei. Currently, AWR regularly hosts several teachers throughout the year for seminars and instruction, including Jimmy Sorrentino Sensei of Arlington, VA, and Charlie Page Sensei of the Baltimore Aikikai.

AWR continues today as a Not-For-Profit student-run organization. All of the members share in paying monthly dues, maintaining and caring for the dojo, and providing a safe and welcoming atmosphere to all who earnestly wish to come and train in aikido.

Current AWR instructor list

  • Eric Webber, Sandan
  • Rick Dunn, Nidan
  • Michael Harrell, Nidan
  • Bob Ferrara, Shodan
  • Chris Kostaras, Shodan

Guest instructors since 1991

  • Lee Crawford
  • Lia Suzuki
  • David Goldberg
  • William Gleason
  • Dan Messisco
  • Pete Trimmer
  • Charlie Page
  • Jimmy Sorrentino
  • Garrett Fuller
  • Doug Clubine
  • Chuck Weber

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