AWR was founded in its original 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 Eric Webber, Michael Harrell, Christine Moore, Bob Ferrara, Sarah Moore, and Andrew Dell.
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.
6:30 pm – 8 pm
6:30 pm – 8 pm
10am – Noon
Classes are open to all training levels. Please see our FAQ section regarding students under 18.
Aikido West Reading
3459 B Penn Avenue
Sinking Spring, PA 19608
Parking is available at the back of the building off of Blanbird Drive.
Eric Webber, Sandan (Sensei at Large)
Eric Webber began his Aikido training at Aikido West Reading in March 1996. He was given the rank of Sandan in June 2010 by the Mid Atlantic testing committee under the auspices of Mitsugi Saotome Shihan. Eric Sensei holds an undergraduate degree from Kutztown University, a Master’s Degree from Alvernia University, and has completed graduate work at Immaculata University and Plymouth State University. He is a certified addictions counselor, as well as a commissioned Kentucky Colonel.
Michael Harrell, Sandan
Michael Harrell started training in September of 1999 at Aikido West Reading. Currently holding the rank of Sandan, which he received in June of 2016. An infrequent Shakespearean actor, a haphazard artist, and untreatable epicurean, Michael has avoided abject poverty and sloth by being gainfully employed at the dairy trading company he cofounded in 2010.
Bob Ferrara, Shodan
Bob Ferrara began training in January 2005 at Aikido West Reading. He currently holds the rank of Shodan, received in September 2011. While Bob ran a business pouring concrete when he began training Aikido, he has moved on to Autobody Collision and doing custom restorations of classic muscle cars.
Andrew Dell, Shodan
Andrew Dell began training at Aikido West Reading in April 2010. He currently holds the rank of Shodan. A jack-of-all trades, Andrew has worked in the past as a veterinary technician, but now works in IT and holds a Masters of Education from Albright College.