Aikido Centers Chief Instructor - Greg O’Connor
Greg O'Connor is an internationally respected Aikido teacher and author as well as one of the first full-time professional Aikido teachers in the U.S.. For over thirty years now he has devoted all his efforts to teaching and sharing the multi-level and wide-ranging benefits of Aikido. His rank of 7th degree black belt was awarded to him by Aikido Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikido World Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan.
He is the author of the internationally acclaimed The Aikido Student Handbook and The Elements of Aikido and is widely recognized for his open approach to, and acceptance of, all Aikido styles and methods. He also has a respected reputation for his attention to technical aspects and his ability to teach Aikido’s full range of soft through severe application as well as for his abilities with Aikido’s weaponry of both bokken and jo (the buki-waza of aiki-ken and aiki-jo). He teaches what he describes as “the full spectrum” of Aikido—it’s full range—from personal growth aspects to global ethics; and from gentle compliance techniques through personal protection and combative capabilities—while at the same time stressing Aikido’s ethical philosophy. He is an experienced seminar teacher and custom designs such to meet the specific needs of any dojo, group or organization.
His diversified background includes karate, iaido, kyudo and ikebana, wrestling, grappling, extensive backpacking, climbing and the study of mind expansion. He is an accomplished artist, cartoonist and graphic designer as well as a certified massage therapist and master gardener.
He has the honor to be accredited by the State of New Jersey Police Training Commission as a Defensive Tactics Instructor, a recognition rarely granted to civilians, and in that capacity actively leads and conducts Defensive Tactics training for law enforcement professionals throughout the state. He is also a S.O.R.A. Certified Security Officer with the State of New Jersey (Security Officer Registration Act). Additionally, over the past several decades he has instructed all levels and types of security & law enforcement officers, police, and security personnel including Municipal & County Police Officers, NJ State Police, NJ State Corrections Officers, Parole Officers, as well as Military Personnel, Dept. of Homeland Security, Diplomatic Security, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Secret Service Agents. Many of his Black Belts have gone on to be exceptional Professional Aikido Instructors themselves as well as Professional Defensive Tactics Instructors teaching all level of law enforcement and security personnel. In his defensive tactics classes he stresses Aikido’s uniquely applicable approach as the desired method for law enforcement officers of protection, hand-to-hand self-defense and weapons disarming—all of which are highly desirable and applicable to modern civility and evolving legalities.
He continues to be recognized as one of Aikido’s most creative pioneers—bringing Aikido principles and techniques into an ever-widening range of venue and application. Because of his expertise and his commitment to helping others, he not only teaches and promotes Aikido throughout the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area but travels extensively both nationally and internationally to teach and train in Aikido’s wide-ranging applications.
His goal continues to be to provide high level Aikido training to both beginner and advanced Aikido practitioners, to create and maintain high quality Aikido dojos, to encourage and to support each individual aikidoka, to help build their character, confidence and self-esteem in hopes that it will increase the overall quality of that person’s life making, therefore, the world a little bit better—one class at a time, one technique at a time, one person at a time.