Instructors

Chief Instructor James Soviero, Godan (5th degree black belt) and Shidoin (Certified Teacher by the U.S. Aikido Federation), has been practicing and teaching Aikido since 1991. Soviero Sensei is on the instructional staff at at the New York Aikikai, headquarters of the U.S. Aikido Federation, and at Aikido Schools of New Jersey - where he spent two years as a full-time apprentice, or "uchi deshi" to Rick Stickles Shihan. Soviero Sensei regularly trains at seminars around the country with some of the world's leading teachers. A Red Bank native, Soviero Sensei founded Aikido of Red Bank in 2002. He is a graduate of Montclair State University and of Red Bank Catholic High School.

Chris Ednie, Sandan (3rd degree black belt) studied judo as a youth and began his training in aikido in 1982 with Mitsugi Saotome Shihan in Washington, DC. From 1993 through 2001, he studied under Rick Stickles Shihan and Skip Chapman Sensei. Since 2002, Chris has been a student of Soviero Sensei and regular member of the instruction staff at Aikido of Red Bank. Chris' creative and dynamic aikido style reflects his diverse background and his classes promote a blend of stylistic differences. When not at the dojo, Chris spends time with his wife Saralie and two grown sons Ray and Robbie. He is employed by AT&T and holds a masters degree in b usiness management.

James Shaffer, Sandan (3rd degree black belt, co-chief instructor Long Beach Island Aikikai) is a student of martial arts from childhood, who began practicing Aikido in 1998 at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Aikido Club. Shortly after, he served as soto deshi under Chester Griffin of the Long Beach Island Aikikai. A move north took him to Aikido Schools of New Jersey in Roselle Park under the direction of Shihan Richard Stickles. Upon another move to Manhattan, he became a member of the New York Aikikai. Now back in New Jersey, he splits his time on the instructional staff at Long Beach Island Aikikai, Aikido Schools of New Jersey and Aikido of Red Bank.

Lynne Crystal, Nidan (2nd degree black belt) took her first aikido test in 1996 and decided to train forever. Today, Lynne sees teaching adult and children's classes as an opportunity for growth and development for her students and her own practice.. Professionally, Lynne runs her own business, Lynne Crystal Company- Management Development Consultants. Since 1988, she has globally trained, coached, designed for and developed thousands of Corporate Executives in the Advanced Presentations, Meetings and Management Skills. She works in the USA, Puerto Rico, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia and likes seeking aikido dojo's to practice in when she travels. In addition, she enjoys writing, nature, yoga (thanks Rosemary) and theater. She and her husband Ted live in central New Jersey.

Michael Fitzpatrick, Nidan (2nd degree black belt) began his aikido studies in 1993 in Santa Monica, California, under Jun Mateo Sensei, whose style was informed by Shoji Nishio Sensei as well as the Philippine martial art Dangayan Singkaw. Michael moved to New York in the mid-1990s, where he studied at the New York Aikikai under Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei and Seiichi Sugano Sensei. As a member of the 8 a.m. class at New York Aikikai, he trained under Douglas Firestone Sensei. He has been a member of Aikido of Red Bank since 2003. Outside the dojo, he is a writer and editor who teaches journalism at Rutgers University.

Lee Alexander, Nidan (2nd degree black belt) began studying Aikido by watching the opening class of Aikido of Red Bank on April 8, 2002. He joined the dojo that night and has been training ever since. With no previous martial arts background, he began training as much as his schedule would allow. He achieved the rank of Shodan (first degree black belt) in 2008. He volunteers a considerable amount of time to the dojo and was instrumental in helping to secure and decorate our beautiful new space. His background in Corporate America spans 34 years in Telecommunications and Information Technology at IBM and the Bell System. He retired in 1999 and lives in Lincroft with his wife Mary. He is an active woodworker and teaches woodturning in his shop. He plays golf any time the weather permits, practices yoga daily, and has entirely too much fun.

Matt Wavro, Nidan (2nd degree black belt) began studying aikido in 2001 in Middletown under Rick Stickles Shihan and has been a dedicated student of Aikido of Red Bank under Soviero Sensei since its founding the following year. A high-energy morning person, Matt leads the Wednesday 6 a.m. class. Matt began his martial arts training in 1986, studying Korean tae kwon do under Master Ray Martin in Holmdel and achieved the rank of 1st degree black belt in 1992. He continued to train and teach karate while attending Brookdale Community College. After graduating from Rutgers University College of Engineering, Matt began practicing judo under Sylvan Goldwert in Red Bank. Matt is a lifelong Hazlet resident, and wife Dina, son Matthew, and daughter Melanie are regular members of the dojo community. He owns and operates Skyline Engineering, a third-party New York City special inspection agency.

David Breniak, Soto Deshi, Shodan (1st degree black belt) began practicing at Aikido of Red Bank in 2007 and has served as soto deshi to Soviero Sensei since 2008. David teaches adult, teen and children's classes. Prior to practicing aikido David studied Shorinjiryu, an Okinawan form of karate, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He has 11 years of experience as a personal trainer and specialized in a number of modalities, focusing on high intensity strength training, senior's strength building and exercise rehabilitation. He minored in education and has an associate degree in biology, focusing on anatomy and physiology.