Meet Our Instructors

Instructors at Kobukan are all black belt-level students with decades of experience training in Aikido. We are fortunate to have several instructors who each bring their own individual styles to their Aikido instruction, while maintaining the integrity of Aikido techniques..

Kristin Maier, Kobukan Head Instructor

3rd degree black belt (sandan)

Began training in 1988, including graduating from two instructor training courses under the direction of Kushida-sensei. Certified since 1995 as an instructor in Aikido.

“Studying aikido under Kushida-sensei has been a source of great joy, peace, and ever deepening challenge. The teaching methodology of Byōdōkai Aikido is solid; an emphasis on safety, mutual respect, and technical precision allows students to enjoy authentic and compelling techniques with a spirit of harmony and good feeling.”

Eric Schlichting, Head Youth Instructor

Junior-2nd degree black belt (jun-nidan)

Started training in Aikido in 2002 at the University of Michigan Aikido Club in Ann Arbor. Attended both University of Michigan and Genyokan Aikido classes. Awarded Outstanding Class Attendance in Ann Arbor from 2005 to 2008. Became a certificated instructor in 2008. Began training at Kobukan in 2009.

Aikido became one of my main foundations for learning and personal growth when I was in college. Through the many relationships made and the lessons taught to me by my seniors and the head instructors, I feel privileged to have found Aikido at the time I did in my life. I hope as I move forward in life I can return the favor to my instructors by giving the knowledge and the relationships I have come to know over the years to others.”

Jennifer Koper

1st degree black belt (shodan)

Training in Aikido since 1994, certified instructor since 2002. Participated in and graduated from two instructor training courses.

“This particular style of Aikido starts with a very step-by-step learning process, which emphasizes precise, dynamic movement as well as safety. There are also lectures about Japanese Samurai history and the philosophy of Aikido, “The Way of Harmony.”  I really like that we focus on creating harmony in our relationships and in society, and not on neutralizing an attack, even though we train hard and can have very aerobic classes. This is not about self-defense, but about self-improvement. And we have fun throwing each other around!”

Tina Syx

1st degree black belt (shodan)