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Testimonials

I started training aikido with Sano sensei and Wyffels sensei in July 2012. I work at the University of Utah. Not only is the location supremely convenient, I find the dojo a fantastic fit for my personality and current approach to this martial way. I have become one of the regulars. During my time training at Salt Lake Aikikai, I have observed both instructors scale instruction to the audience on a given evening. Some nights, when we have inexperienced visitors, this means that we very carefully move through beginning material. On nights with just the more experienced students, the training time ramps up to more difficult techniques. Of course, classes range widely between these two points. I am amazed at how Sano and Wyffels make this dynamic teaching look effortless. Further, both seem to find great ways to push and encourage me to improve.

I looked into a number of other dojo options prior to joining Salt Lake Aikikai and trained briefly elsewhere some years ago. None of the other options provided as well-rounded a grounding in the foundation of the Way as disseminated by Hombu Dojo, the home headquarters of Aikido worldwide. I appreciate that instruction is focused on the core of Aikido, rather than adding superfluous and unnecessary roadblocks to instruction found in other subsidiary Aikido organizations. There isn't another first-class alternative for traditional aikido in the area.

Jack H.



The teachers and students are accommodating to beginners and visitors. Advanced students and beginners alike are given new challenges. The nature of this practice is to match the energy level of your partner, whether fast or slow, strong or gentle. Salt Lake Aikikai has been a resource for my physical and mental development for the past nine years, and always has something new to teach me, both in the art of cooperation and in personal excellence.

Dylan P.



I have been a member of the Salt Lake Aikikai since its opening at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex in November of 2004. My experience with the dojo has unquestionably left me a better person. No matter how stressed or tired I may feel before practice, I finish feeling relaxed and well. I have made new friends and I have found Aikido unique in promoting a spirit of cooperation. The Aikikai’s association with the Hombu Dojo in Japan (the world Aikido Headquarters), gave me an opportunity to travel to Japan and experience Aikido practice where it originated. The instructors for the course, Richard Sano and Philippe Wyffels (and during the first several years, David Iannucci) have been patient and tireless with all who attend. They have consistently taught safe practice; no one is pressured to attempt anything with which they were uncomfortable. The modest fees and unheard-of class cancellations reflect their selfless interest in teaching this martial art.

Mark H.



I began practicing at Salt Lake Aikikai in July of 2009. For several years I had considered returning to the study of a martial art. At age 39, I had a number of concerns. I hadn’t studied martial arts since I was a teenager and wanted to make sure it was a positive experience. I also had concerns about my physical safety, not being an indestructible kid anymore. I’m very grateful that I chose Salt Lake Aikikai. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to train. It has contributed to my physical, mental and spiritual health. It has helped me to reach my weight loss goals, improve my stamina, increase my flexibility, and better manage my overall stress.

Rich Sano and Philippe Wyffels are both superb teachers. They not only bring years of experience, insight, and mastery of the art of Aikido to the dojo, they are also very skilled instructors who know how to create a positive learning experience. I couldn’t ask for better teachers.

Gerry C.


I love Aikido because it is fun. Teachers are kind and helpful, and members are so nice and passionate. I want to practice more so that I can be as skillful as my teachers and other senior members. I very much enjoy every Aikido class at Salt Lake Aikikai.

Yoshio (age 7)



I was looking for a self defense class that my son and I could both attend. Salt Lake Aikikai was the only place where they allowed us to practice together. People in Salt Lake Aikikai are very respectful. Instructors are knowledgable and professional, and all the members are always willing to teach beginners patiently. I appreciate the stance of teaching one another. My son and I both came to love Aikido, and we enjoy attending the class every Tuesday and Friday. We are so glad to find this class and grateful for Salt Lake Aikikai.

Nao S.



Visiting Salt Lake Aikikai in April 2013 was my first martial arts class of any kind. I was promptly greeted and accepted warmly as a member of the group, demonstrating the openness of the class to accept all who show interest. I was told during my introduction that although I may see some advanced techniques, my safety was the most important concern of the dojo, and I should not attempt to do anything I did not feel comfortable with. This is all in keeping with the principles of learning Sano Sensei demands of all participants.

I believe Sano Sensei embodies the values of teaching to the highest degree. He is not only highly skilled in his practice of Aikido but conveys the importance of balance in our lives regarding family, work, and other interests. He is truly special in what I have since seen at other dojos in that our classes incorporate men, women, children, and all ages, at all skill levels working together. Only his knowledge of proper Eastern teaching philosophy allows safely for this.

In addition, his skill in Aikido has allowed for me to progress in this discipline at a much higher rate than I could have ever imagined. He takes the time to individually assist each student creating a learning experience of great reward.

I recommend Sano Sensei to the highest degree. His compassion, skill, and teachings, are a valuable assets to our community.

Scott C.