Instructors

Donovan Waite Sensei 7th Dan Shihan, began practicing Aikido in 1969, at a very young age. As a 14 year old, he received his 1st Degree Black Belt from Ralph Reynolds Sensei who was under the direction of T.K. Chiba Sensei in Birmingham, England. Since then Waite Sensei has spent the last 37 years pursuing a deeper understanding of Aikido. Along that path, Waite Sensei has had the opportunity to train under many of Aikido’s foremost instructors. In 1984 he apprenticed himself to Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, chairman of the United States Aikido Federation and chief instructor of the New York Aikikai. For over ten years he was Uchi Deshi, or live-in student, under Yamada Sensei and he still holds a weekly teaching position at the New York Aikikai. Since 1997 Donovan Waite Sensei has been the chief instructor of Aikido of Greater Philadelphia.

He currently holds the rank of 7th Dan and is a certified Shihan, or Master Instructor, with both the United States Aikido Federation and the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Waite Sensei is one of the few, and one of the youngest, Westerners to reach this milestone. He also serves on the USAF Technical Committee. In addition to his duties with the USAF and Aikido of Greater Philadelphia, Waite Sensei extensively travels the world teaching Aikido. He has conducted Aikido seminars in various cities of North, Central, & South America, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, & South East Asia. Waite Sensei is a full-time, professional martial artist who has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of Aikido.

John Gribben 4th Dan, began practicing in 1987 at the New York Aikikai under chief instructor Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan.  He moved back to his home town of Philadelphia in 1993 and resumed training with the late Henry Smith Shihan in 1993. He has been training under Donovan Waite Shihan since 1997. He received his advanced rankings and participates as an instructor under Waite Shihan’s guidance.

Sulaiman Hakeem 4th Dan (Dojo Cho), began training in 1999 at the Aikikai of Philadelphia, under the late Henry Smith 6th Dan Shihan. In 2011 he began training with Donovan Waite Shihan at Old City Aikido. In 2017, he started Aikido of Greater Philadelphia with Chief Instructor Donovan Waite Sensei. In addition to his responsibilities at AGP, Sulaiman regularly travels around the country to attend seminars with various USAF instructors