Instructors

Chief Instructor - Joanne Veneziano Sensei

Joanne Veneziano, a sixth degree black belt, began training in 1976 at the New England Aikikai under the direction of Kanai Sensei, a direct student of the founder. In 1979 she moved to Seattle to continue her study with Mary Heiny Sensei at the Seattle School of Aikido. In 1986 she trained in Fukuoka, Japan under Suganuma Sensei. She opened Emerald City Aikido in 1991. 

Veneziano Sensei's approach to her training has always been committed passion. She endeavors to pursue Aikido as a path of personal growth. Her teaching style combines warmth and humor with serious physical practice. She is a dedicated teacher and practitioner who has inspired many to undertake the art of Aikido. Veneziano Sensei takes to heart O Sensei's teaching and applies the art of peace with joy and vigor. 

In addition to running Emerald City Aikido, Sensei Veneziano is an Emergency Room Social Worker at Harborview Medical Center, a position she has held for 18 years.


Paul Verba Sensei, Yondan

Verba Sensei began Aikido training in 1988 under Joanne Veneziano Sensei. Verba Sensei also enjoys the practice of Japanese Shodo and is a student of Sensei Yoshiasu Fujii, Chief Instructor of Akashii USA calligraphy school.


Dan Bray Sensei, Yondan

Dan Bray discovered Aikido at the age of 53, receiving his black belt 7 years later at age 60. Dan works as a real estate agent when he is not doing and instructing Aikido.


Adam Eisenberg Sensei, Yondan

Adam Eisenberg began training in 1992 with Gary Barnett Sensei at the University of Washington. Adam joined Emerald City Aikido in 1997, and he teaches in the adult and children’s program.


Fran O’Donnell Sensei, Yondan

Fran O’Donnell Sensei started training at Emerald City Aikido in 1993. She has been fortunate to deepen her practice by visiting and training at dojos in the various countries she has travelled to over the years. She currently holds the position of nurse care manager in the outpatient setting at Virginia Mason Medical Center.


John Benner Sensei, Nidan

John runs a after school day care center for kids. He is an early childhood educator and is the father of two young boys.


Morrie Bills Sensei, Nidan

Morrie first read about Aikido in a small children's book at the age of 10. As a geeky, shy, uncoordinated individual, she was intrigued with the idea that people of all abilities could do Aikido. In 1991 she began training at ECA, in the first beginner series. She believes Aikido has helped her become not only physically coordinated and athletic, but also more confident and flexible in dealing with life and on embarking on the path of becoming an actor.


Sean Congdon Sensei, Nidan

Sean is a Naturopath in private practice at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health Seattle and is the father of two young children. 


Cindy Heiden Sensei, Nidan

Cindy began training in 1994 after seeing Aikido's beauty and joy in a demonstration at Emerald City Aikido. The aspects of connection and receiving are particularly, enduringly fascinating.


Dan Amdur Sensei, Nidan

Dan Amdur started Aikido when he was 22 years old and currently works at Microsoft as a project manager in the games division.