Damon Apodaca Sensei

Damon Apodaca Sensei is the Chief Instructor and founder of Santa Fe Budokan, a member dojo of the DNBK (Dai Nippon Butoku Kai), the oldest Japanese Martial Arts organization.

Apodaca Sensei was instrumental in the stabilization of Zenshinkan Dojo after the death of its founder Edward Haupt Sensei. Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Apodaca Sensei began his training in Aikido and Kototama at age 14, under the direction of Masahilo Nakazono Shihan. After Professor Nakazono retired from Aikido, Apodaca Sensei moved to San Diego, California, where he became a student of T. Kazuo Chiba Shihan. After earning his nidan rank and training for six years with Chiba Shihan, Apodaca Sensei founded the UCSD Aikido Club and was an assistant instructor at Sunset Cliff's Aikido, an Iwama Style dojo. It was here that he received his first and second level instructor certification in Iwama Style Weapons from Morihiro Saito Sensei, the longest term uchi-deshi to O-Sensei. After traveling around northern California and training with instructors such as Robert Nadeau, Frank Doran, and Patricia Hendricks, Apodaca Sensei would move back to Santa Fe to open a dojo that was unaffiliated. It was called Roninkai Aikido. After two years in Santa Fe, Apodaca Sensei joined the Aikido Association of America under the direction of Fumio Toyoda Shihan and earned his sandan rank.

With a flurry of Aikido growing in the South West and a barren landscape of Aikido dojo in the North East, Apodaca Sensei traveled to Newport, Rhode Island to found Newport Aikikai (then known as Enshinkan Dojo) and build, what is today, a thriving group of Aikido practitioners in the Newport area.

Apodaca Sensei returned to his hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2007 and founded the Santa Fe Budokan where he continues to teach Aikido and Iaido as a full-time instructor. He has joined the United States Aikido Federation (USAF) under the direction of Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan, from whom he has earned his rokudan (6th degree black belt) rank.

Apodaca Sensei's Iaido training is done under the direction of Carl Long, the 22nd Soshihan of the Masaoka line of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, and the Santa Fe Budokan is a member of the Kokusai Nippon Butokusai (KNBK).

As a friend of Haupt Sensei, Apodaca Sensei accepted the Chief Instructor role at Zenshinkan Dojo after his death. For nearly two years, Apodaca Sensei brought the Zenshinkan students decades of Aikido experience, having trained under four Shihan, all of whom trained with the founder of Aikido, O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba. A dedicated practitioner of Aiki Weapons, Apodaca Sensei holds various levels of instructor certification, granted by M. Saito Shihan in both Aiki-Ken and Aiki-Jo weapons. The weapons that Apodaca Sensei taught continue to be a part of our practice at Zenshinkan Dojo. His dynamic and powerful technique raised the quality of Aikido at Zenshinkan and improved the teaching methodology of the current instructors.