The Zenten Team

Andrew Leitch

Instructor

Andrew Sensei receiving his 2nd Dan promotion from Moriteru Ueshiba

With a background in Judo, Brazilian Jujutsu, and traditional Chinese martial arts, in 2008 Andrew began practicing Aikido in Canada. Lead by his passion for the art, he moved to Japan in 2013 at which time he began attending classes at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Since then, he has been regularly attending the classes of Doshu, the grandson of the founder of Aikido. He currently holds a 3rd Dan certification from the Aikikai World Headquarters.

In 2014 he began teaching Aikido at international schools in Tokyo part-time and then full-time from 2016. He was the technical director for an Aikido dojo operating in international schools, redesigning their program to a “learning through fun” model. With extensive swimming and first aid instructor training through the Red Cross, his method of teaching seeks to maximize both fun and skill development in a coordinated manner, with strong focus on safety. Planning and classroom organization are the pillars of his teaching method and allows the students’ enjoyment and technical progression to be enhanced. In order to have a fun class, the teachers too must be having fun, and Andrew’s light hearted and friendly approach to learning allows adults and children of all levels of skill and commitment to enjoy his classes.


Maiko (Asaka) Sano    

Sales & Marketing

Responsible for the non-instructor roles with in Zenten Aikido, Maiko has an abundant experience in sales, hospitality, and event planning.  Maiko started her career in finance, as a sales person responsible for corporate clients in a global investment bank in Tokyo.  Utilizing her bilingual and bicultural skills, she developed her career in finance across both sales and investor relations roles across several leading investment banks.  Her experiences in finance ranged from setting up theme-led tours across Asia and arranging executive IR trips overseas, to assuming responsibility for a conference targeting global clients.  

 After nearly 10 years in finance, she moved on to further develop her skills in the hospitality sector, by assuming both sales and project manager roles in companies with strength in event planning and concierge services for VVIP clients.  There, she gained insight into the demands and requirements of the hi-network sector, as well as the limitations Japan still faces regarding the inbound business.     

Maiko is still a beginner with regards to Aikido, but has been throughly captivated by the mystique of the martial art that defends without injuring the attacker, and the artistic aspects of the movements.  She hopes that through her efforts at Zenten Aikido will become more widely known and understood.


Olivier Gaurin

Instructor

Having lived in Tokyo for more than 30 years, Olivier is a renowned Aikido practitioner, not just in Japan, but also in his native France. As a regular attendee of morning practices at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo he continues to refine his skills after more than 45 years of practice. He is the author of several books about Aikido, both in English and French, and considered by many to be a highly  authoritative voice on the history and philosophy of Aikido. He was been a student of Kisshomaru Ueshiba and several legendary Aikikai senseis over the years and is held in high esteem amongst practitioners at Aikikai Hombu Dojo. In addition to being a sixth Dan holder in Aikido, he also has a fifth Dan and teaching  certification in Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jiujustu, the parent art of Aikido. The depth of his knowledge and his playful nature on the mats make learning from him a pleasant and relaxing experience.


Tadgh Coughlan

Volunteer Instructor

Tadgh, our youngest instructor, began his Aikido training in his hometown of Cork, Ireland when he was 17. He then moved to Japan to train in Aikido at the AIkikai Hombu Dojo .
He received both his first and second Dan gradings from the world headquarters where he trains regularly, twice a day 6 days a week! Tadgh has been involved with teaching children Aikido in Tokyo’s international school circuit for two years with various schools. His enthusiastic and warm-hearted approach encourages students to do their best every time he steps on the mats.


Catalina Von Crayen

Volunteer Instructor

Catalina (short Lina) von Crayen holds an MA on the topic of “Body and Language” from the University of Lausanne and later published several articles within a postgraduate project on the same topic. During her undergraduate studies, she started to study dance and authentic movement in order to inform her studies from a more physical perspective. She was advised by her dance instructor to learn Aikido in order to improve her posture and started practicing at the Aikido Schule Bern under Renata Jocic Sensei (6th Dan) and Dragisa Jocic Sensei (7th Dan) in Switzerland. For 3years, Catalina also practiced Shisui Ryu Karate under Marco Marffy Sensei (6th Dan) in Switzerland. She took her Shodan examination in Aikido in summer 2018. She is a certified Swiss Youth & Sports instructor. Currently, she is a language teacher at the Deutsche Schule Tokyo Yokohama. She still sometimes works freelance as a journalist.