Practical self-defense

Four instructors train others at Aikido Central Coast Dojo

Aikido is one of the least known, least understood and most effective martial arts practiced today. A modern interpretation of the much-older Japanese martial art of Aikijutsu, Aikido was developed by the founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba in Japan in the decades immediately before and after World War II. 

Relying on technique

The technical repertoire of Aikido consists of a number of joint locks, pins, throws and submissions – all of which rely primarily on technique, rather than strength. That being said, Aikido is an amazingly effective martial art evidenced by the fact that its practitioners do not segregate training by either weight class or by sex; one must be able to deal with any opponent regardless of size. In fact, upper level Aikidoists have to deal with multiple simultaneous attackers, which is unusual in the martial arts world.  

Aikido, taught properly, consists of a thorough warm up of muscles and joints and, over time, increases flexibility and strength as well as balance and timing. It is not uncommon for Aikidoist to practice actively well into their 60s and 70s.

Central Coast instructors

The Aikido Central Coast Dojo consists of four talented instructors who have come together to promote the art of Aikido:

Paul Stallman is a 4th degree black belt who began training in Karate in 1983 before starting Aikido in 1987. He has trained under some of the top Aikido sensei in the world, including Saito sensei, Yamada sensei and Sugano sensei, all of whom were students of the Founder of Aikido. 

Michele Simone is also a 4th degree black, having started under Frank Doran Sensei, one of the luminaries in California one of the earliest non-Japanese students of the art. Michele has trained under a number of great teachers in the US including Cindy Hayashi sensei, Hiroshi Ikeda sense.

Russ Rayburn is a 3rd degree black belt who has been training in Aikido for over 30 years, originally under Yoshiko Hirata sensei in Washington State, then under John Kapu sensei in Southern California before moving to the Central Coast 15 years ago. Russ has also trained in Aikijutsu under Ken Kiyama sensei. 

Jason Carter is also a 3rd degree black belt who spent 5 years living in Japan and training at the famous Iwama Dojo, where Paul has also trained. He has been training under Gentil Pennewaert in Orange County since leaving Japan, and has trained under Sugano sensei and Yamada sensei. Jason also trains in Iaido and teaches Kendo in SLO and Paso Robles.

Traditional Aikido in SLO

Over the decades, several styles of Aikido have been developed world-wide, some emphasizing Aikido’s flowing movements and philosophical background while others focus on the more technical and martial arts oriented aspects. The Aikido taught at Aikido Central Coast is the traditional form of the art, emphasizing the application of the techniques in the realm of practical self-defense. 

The instructors have used Aikido to instruct non-Aikido classes in women’s self-defense, practical self-defense and even special classes for U.S. military personnel deploying to Afghanistan. 

The San Luis Obispo dojo (Aikido training center) is located in San Luis Obispo at 1166 Higuera St. All classes are accredited through National and International organizations. For more information, call (805) 242-8184 or visit 

Jason Carter - is the general manager at Barrel 27 Wine Company in Paso Robles. He teaches Kendo and Aikido; contact him at 458-7800 or