The Chief Instructor, Darius Wingate-Pearse, has been involved in martial arts for almost 30 years, having casually studied Taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
He has trained exclusively in Aikido since 2000, training and teaching full -time since 2005, and is ranked Godan (fifth degree black belt), via world Aikido headquarters, Hombu Dojo, in Tokyo, Japan. He is also a certified Shidoin (internationally-recognised teacher).
His training has included studying overseas as an uchideshi (full-time, live-in student) for approximately one year with Aikido master, TK Chiba Shihan, in 2005/06.
Pierre Gouhier was seduced by the Aikido of Jean Liard Sensei (5th Dan) in Chartres, France, at the age of 18, after studying Judo, Karate and other martial. Pierre continued his Aikido training while studying at various universities in France.
His instructors included Alfred Vatton (4th Dan), Daniel Legros (4th Dan) and Colombe Legros (5th Dan). He has attended many seminars conducted by such senseis as Christian Tissier (7th Dan), Masotomi Ikeda (7th Dan) and Frank Noel (7th Dan).
Pierre is ranked Sandan and is a registered Fukushidoin (assistant instructor). He has operated satellite dojos of Newcastle Aikikai at the Windale PCYC and the University of Newcastle.