Instructors

Chief Instructors

John Stone and Robin Cooper

Robin Cooper and John Stone started Aikido of Madison in 1984 with the approval of Saotome Sensei, with whom they have studied since 1978. They began their study of Aikido in 1974. Both John and Robin hold the rank of rokudan (6th degree black belt), which they received in January, 2006 from Saotome Sensei. John and Robin lead most of the adult classes and are supported by a staff of experienced black belts. John has also studied tai chi, boxing and Cheng Hsin Tui Shou with Master Peter Ralston since 1990 and is the co-author, with Ron Meyer, of Aikido in America. He regularly conducts weekend aikido workshops and seminars in the dojo. In addition, he leads spiritual retreats called enlightenment intensives. More information can be found about the intensives at: www.heartland-ei.com.

Photo of John Stone Sensei, Chief Instructor of Aikido of Madison Photo of Robin Cooper Sensei, Chief Instructor of Aikido of Madison

Photo of Robin Cooper Sensei, Chief Instructor of Aikido of Madison Photo of John Stone Sensei, Chief Instructor of Aikido of Madison


Assistant Instructors

Jeff Hempel

Jeff is the senior student in the dojo and has been studying at the school since 1986. In January of 2015, he was awarded the rank of godan by Saotome Sensei.  He teaches the Thursday evening Aikido classes and is the head of our children’s program.

Jeff has also studied many other martial arts.  He is a fourth-degree black belt in Karate and is a partner in owning East Madison Karate (classes are held at Aikido of Madison).  In addition, he studied Jeet Kune Do (JKD) for 8 years.

Finally, Jeff is an instructor of Katori Shinto Ryu (classes are also taught at Aikido Of Madison).

Photo of Jeff Hempel Sensei, Instructor at Aikido of Madison

Barb Brown

Barb has studied at Aikido of Madison since 1984. She is the founding instructor of our early morning classes and a frequent subsitute of Monday and Thursday evening classes.  She was awarded the rank of godan in 2017.

Barb also holds the rank of nidan in Karate from East Madison Karate.

Photo of Barb Brown Sensei, Instructor at Aikido of Madison

Cathy Middlecamp

Cathy teaches the noon class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  She joined Aikido of Madison in 1987 holds the rank of sandan.  She often is assisted by black belts Eric Saemann, Karen Anderson, and Steven Montagna, who also regularly attend noon class.

Photo of Cathy Middlecamp Sensei, Instructor at Aikido of Madison

Kerry Connell

Kerry started at Aikido of Madison in 1994. His first class was a Friday night weapons class. After receiving his Shodan in May of 1999 Kerry began instructing that same Friday night weapons class. Kerry currently holds the rank of sandan. He continues to teach the Friday night weapons class, and has started a class focusing on Ukemi.

Photo of Kerry Connell Sensei, Instructor at Aikido of Madison

Mark Bissen

Mark began aikido training in 2004 at Aikido of Madison and currently holds the rank of nidan. He is also a student of Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintōryū and was awarded the rank of mokuroku. He enjoys the mental and physical benefits of aikido training and of weapons training in particular. He also studies Shakuhachi, the traditional Japanese bamboo flute, in the Kinko Ryu lineage.  Mark retired from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2015.

Photo of Mark Bissen Sensei, Instructor at Aikido of Madison

Lynn Litterer

Lynn transferred to Aikido of Madison in 2005. She previously practiced at the University of Minnesota Aikido Club under Patrick Riley. She earned her nidan in 2017. Lynn teaches the Wednesday evening class.


Wayne Lenius

Wayne began studying aikido at Aikido of Madison in 2002 and earned his nidan in 2017. He has been a co-instructor in the morning classes since 2015.

Photo of Wayne Lenius Sensei, Instructor at Aikido of Madison

Justin Moebus

Justin earned his shodan in 2013. He teaches in our children’s program.

Photo of Justin Moebus Sensei, Instructor at Aikido of Madison