Neil Lofgren - Instructor

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Neil brings a long and diverse background to his classes at Ecole de Budo. He actively attends seminars with Jaff Raji Sensei and other recognized instructors throughout the year. In addition, his travels have allowed him to train with a large variety of teachers at their own dojos across the US and abroad. This network of dojos is like a large family and Neil appreciates the warm welcome that he receives from Aikidoka around the world. After seventeen years of dedicated study, Neil is constantly amazed by how much there still is to learn, and by the huge wealth of experience available to anyone who seeks it.

At home in Portland, Neil enjoys sharing his experiences with students and applying the insights he has learned along the way. Neil is especially thankful for the continuous insights he receives from Jaff's teachings, and for the opportunity to train regularly with Michael and Rick.

Neil began his Aikido Training in 1989 and has loved it since his first day on the mat. Back then, he was completing a degree at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and studied at Baltimore Aikido under Charlie Page Sensei and Chuck Weber Sensei, both students of Mitsugi Saotome Sensei. During this time, Neil was also influenced by Zenko Okimura Sensei who was a guest instructor at the Baltimore dojo. Neil regularly attended seminars with Saotome Sensei and Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei, and still does so whenever possible.

After five years in Baltimore, Neil moved to Portland and continued his training at Two Rivers Aikikai under Ed DiMarco Sensei, a student of Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei. Neil also benefited from instruction by Ken Brown Sensei and Max Lions Sensei who were both teaching at Two Rivers. It was here that Neil met Rick, who had moved to Portland a few years earlier and was already training at Two Rivers. Neil and Rick took their Shodan tests together the following year, and have been friends and training partners ever since.

Neil taught the weekday morning classes at Two Rivers for eight years, starting when DiMarco Sensei's travels took him away from the dojo, and continuing under DiMarco's successor, Spiros Koyanis Sensei, a student of Mitsunari Kanai Sensei. During this time, Neil was able to attend many seminars with Yamada Sensei, Kanai Sensei, and Seiichi Sugano Sensei . He has continued his affiliation with Yamada Sensei through DiMarco Sensei, and was awarded Sandan by Yamada Sensei in 2005.

It was during Neil's morning class at Two Rivers that he first met Michael. Neil, Michael and Rick began training together on a regular basis, and Michael soon introduced them to Jaff Raji Sensei. Since then, Neil has attended seminars with Jaff in Portland, Caracas, and Rennes, and hopes to be able to attend more of Jaff's international seminars as time progresses. Neil joined Ecole de Budo as an instructor in 2004.

"Aikido is a lifelong journey, and I know I'll enjoy every step with such great companions." - Neil Lofgren