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Omar Ruego

2nd dan


Omar started practicing Aikido in 2011 after practicing Karate and a form of Aikido in the Philippines.  He saw Aikido being practiced in 1993 in the Philippines and immediately fell in love with the art.  “The gracefulness and beauty of the movement is what captivated me the most.” Omar has been working one-on-one with new beginners for years and since has started teaching some beginners classes. His professed favorite time of the day is being on the mat.  His focus on fundamentals and basic form helps beginners develop self-confidence in the start of their Aikido journey.


Diego Nobre

Junior Deshi

5th Kyu

Diego Nobre joined ASNJ in February 2017. After over 10,000 falls and rolls and as many throws, Diego Nobre proudly achieved the rank of 5th Kyu at ASNJ. Many more throws later he was invited to a new role: Junior Deshi. He was (and still is) very excited.

Taking care of his younger peers, helping his Sensei and going along with the Sempais, he is thrilled to be an active and important part of the Dojo. Diego was born in 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal, in the borough of Benfica, home of the world’s second and third greatest soccer teams. Not the preferred sport for Diego; just a fun fact. In 2016, he moved to the United States with his parents, Duarte and Olga. Currently he is in the 7th grade and looking forward to summer.

Aikido Instructor, shidoin, 4th dan

Ruth Peyser

6th Dan, Shidoin


In the late 1970s, Ruth left her native Australia for New York City, an inspiring place for an artist and budding filmmaker. She began training at The New York Aikikai in 1980 and started teaching in 1987.


Ruth’s dedication to aikido instruction is reflected in her clear and well-constructed classes, as well as the individual attention to student progress.


“The wonderful thing about aikido is that each person can approach it in a way that suits them. Some people are more interested in the physical form and others use the philosophical aspects to explore the practice and themselves. Yamada Sensei encourages this individual approach at New York Aikikai, and it is a major factor that contributes to the love I have for the art. I feel that having a good understanding of technique is imperative for a solid foundation but that the physical form is a vehicle to study the underlying principles. For me aikido is about exploring the power of harmony and cooperation, and through that observe ways to deal with conflict, control and fear.”

Danny Nunez

2nd Dan


Danny began his Aikido journey in 2008 under Shihan Rick Stickles at ASNJ after seeing the movie – Above the Law.  “I have never seen anything like that before, so I did some research and the rest is history”.  When Danny was much younger, he trained in Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do and good old fashioned boxing. After watching Shihan Stickles, Danny began his path Aikido and the Art of Peace.

Danny enjoys time in the gym and riding his motorcycle when not on the mat.  He teaches the Friday class to all levels.  The reason. “I teach is because I love teaching as much as I love training. The feeling I get from teaching surpasses any I get from training. I just love helping others accomplish their goals in the Art”.  His goal in teaching is that every student walks out with having learned something, that every student can walk out the door with a sense of accomplishment.


Kelvin Guillen

1st dan


Kelvin Xavier Guillen is a Senior at FJC Academy, graduating class of 2022. He plays the cello in the Chamber Orchestra at New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, he joined ASNJ at the age of 8 under the tutelage of Rick Stickles Sensei and Joseph Roy Sensei. Stickles Sensei and Joseph were inspirational role models for his growth and practice, the way they posed themselves in life and their practice influenced how to learn, maintain structure, and have fun. After years of internalizing these valuable lessons, he knows most of his growth has stemmed from Aikido and has helped him balance his life. Kelvin continues to feel passionate about Aikido and he hopes to pass his knowledge and passion for the art to other students.

His hobbies are playing the cello, drawing, and painting, listening to music, helping others, traveling, and having fun. Along with his sister, his father also practices in ASNJ. “The lessons I learned with all these years have motivated me to work harder in all other aspects of life, my hobbies, and lifelong fitness, and I am greatly thankful for all the teachers who, like family, have watched me grow up and are the reason I reciprocate the love of helping others.”


Shanaia Puch

Junior Deshi

1st Kyu

Shanaia started Aikido in October 2016 when her parents were looking for a martial art that might help her overcome some of her shyness. They were looking for something that wasn’t aggressive or violent. Aikido seemed perfect so they brought her to watch and try a class: Shanaia was hooked. Since that day, Aikido has become an integral part of her life and she has developed into a confident

young person.


Shanaia was in the first group of kids to become Junior Deshi and helps teach the

kid’s classes. Her hobbies are drawing, music, and she loves to dance.


Naelys M. Lopez

Junior Deshi

1st Kyu

Naelys became a Junior Deshi in the first group admitted into the program when she was 14.   She has been practicing Aikido since the age of 12 and is a homeschooled high school freshman. 


Her favorite techniques on the mat are Nikkyo and Rokkyo.  On weekends, she babysits, teaches Catechism to 4- to 5-year old children and helps with Children's classes at the Dojo.  When she is not at the Dojo, Naelys enjoys listening to music, singing, and cooking.  One of her proudest moments in Aikido was being called up as Yamada Sensei’s uke during his class at the NY Aikikai.

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