Featured Instructors

Mitsugi Saotome Shihan and the ASU Board are pleased to welcome Takeshi Yamashima Sensei (8th dan) and Raso Hultgren Sensei (7th Dan) to Winter Intensive 2023.

Takeshi Yamashima Sensei (8th Dan)

Takeshi Yamashima Sensei is an 8th dan international Aikido master.

Takeshi Yamashima was born on September 12th, 1941 in Kyoto, Japan and attended his first Aikido class at Hosei University Aikido Doukoukai in autumn of 1961, where he trained under under Arikawa Sensei and Yamada Sensei. 
After graduating from Hosei university, he began working for the Japanese local government, at the ministry of the environment. There was an aikido dojo there, where he trained under Mitsugi Saotome shihan and first started to teach classes. 
In 1975, when Saotome Sensei left to begin his life in the United States, Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei began to teach at Chiyoda Aikido Dojo. For the next 20 years, Yamashima trained under Yamaguchi Sensei and has succeeded Yamaguchi Sensei as the chief instructor at Chiyoda.
Yamashima Sensei also trained regularly at Hombu dojo, being fortunate enough to witness O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba teach, and later training with his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba, the current Doshu.
Yamashima sensei began teaching internationally in 2002. He now teaches seminars frequently in Asia, Europe, North America and South America.
He is currently the head instructor of Chiyoda and Nerima Aikido dojos, Tokyo.

“I hope and dream that everybody who practices Aikido will always be happy. I hope that the people doing Aikido continue to find out new ways of practicing and making new good ideas in Aikido so that they can keep it interesting and fascinating. In this way, Aikido will never stop and the people doing Aikido will have a lifetime of joy in practicing and this, in turn, can help people to make their daily lives more easy-going and less stressful.”

Raso Hultgren Sensei (7th Dan)

Raso Hultgren Sensei began Aikido training in 1971 in Santa Cruz, California, with Robert Frager Sensei, whose light touch and inspiring stories of his time with O Sensei intrigued her to step onto the path.
At that time Frank Doran Sensei also traveled to Santa Cruz once a week to teach, and his warmth and clear images were illuminating and encouraging. In subsequent years, the shihan of Shingu, Japan, opened doors of totality in training and the passionate quest to come to the heart of the art.
In the mid 1970s, Raso attended two seminars led by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan in California. She was strongly drawn to the unity of beauty and power, images of nature, extraordinary skill and elucidation of principle he expressed and demonstrated. Late in 1977, she moved to Washington, D.C. and became Saotome Sensei’s student. His teachings and his touch have continued to inspire and guide her Aikido development over the ensuing decades. Subsequently, she returned to California, teaching and training there. In 1986 she began a four year intensive training period in Boulder, Colorado, with Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, whose generous teaching helped to ground and clarify her practice. Since 1990, Raso Sensei has been chief instructor of Aikido of Missoula in Missoula, Montana. She holds the rank of seventh dan.
Raso has also been influenced by a deep love of wild nature, a performing arts background, and a long term involvement with meditation, which interface with the rigor and clear presence required and honed on the mat. Raso Sensei is fascinated by the embodiment of nature’s complexity and simplicity in the living forms of Aikido, and has been exploring the potency of attention.

Photos and videos courtesy of the instructors