Zach began his Aikido training with Jimmy Friedman Sensei at Suginami Aikikai. He soon became an uchi deshi there, where he taught and trained regularly. While at Sugniami Akikai, he had the honor of studying with a wide range of skilled instructors, including Hiroshi Kato Shihan and Cristian Tissier Shihan. Zach became a member of Portsmouth Aikido in 2013. He currently holds the rank of Sandan.
Sylwia Willcox started Aikido in 2000 at Krakow Aikikai under Dariusz Zięba and Piotr Burnos. In 2007 she moved to New York to be an uchi deshi under Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan, where she later passed her shodan test in 2008. Sylwia and her husband, Doug, joined Portsmouth Aikido in 2017. For her, Aikido is the answer to the search for a mind-body unifying practice. Sylwia is also a yogi and mindfulness practitioner. She currently holds the rank of Shodan.
Doug began Aikido in 1995 in Pasadena, CA, at Southland Aikido under Dr. James Graves, Shidoin. He then continued his studies at City Aikido of Los Angeles under the instruction of Kazuho Nishida, Shidoin. When Doug relocated to Connecticut in 2004, he joined Litchfield Hills Aikikai under Laura Pavlick, Shihan. In May 2007 Doug became an uchi deshi at New York Aikikai under Yoshimitsu Yamada, Shihan, where he earned his Shodan in 2008. From there, he continued his Aikido practice at Framingham Aikikai with David Halprin, Shihan. Doug has been a member of Portsmouth Aikido since 2017. He currently holds the rank of Shodan.
Mardi took her first Aikido class in 1987 when she moved to Japan to teach English. She was hooked from the moment she saw the class line up to take randori. While in Japan for 6 years, Mardi was a member of Hombu Dojo and Yasuo Kobayashi Dojo. After returning to her native California in 1993, she trained at Berkeley Aikikai and then at Santa Barbara Aikikai with Bill Staub and Geraldine Tremblay. She joined Portsmouth Aikido in 2003. Mardi loves the raw physicality of Aikido as well as the spiritual and practical metaphor it provides. She currently holds the rank of Shodan.