Paul Barrett, Ph.D., Yondan and Chief Instructor
Paul Barrett Sensei
I studied a variety of martial arts in my youth including Kenpo, Taijiquan, Shotokan, Shorin-Ryu Karate, and Tae Kwon Do. In 1991 I began my study of Iwama Aikido under the direction of Wolfgang Baumgartner Sensei in Reno, Nevada.
My career required I move throughout the west but whether in southern California, Tucson, Las Vegas, Nevada or Albuquerque I have continued to study a variety of aikido styles. My other instructors have included Aviv Goldsmith, Tom Rennie, Judith Robinson, Coryl Crane, Stan Pranin, Diane Deskin, and James Cornfield Senseis.
When I relocated to Albuquerque I crossed paths with Bill Smythe Sensei of Aikido Arts Center Santa Fe. Baumgartner Sensei had started Aikido Arts Center several years before but had since returned to his native Germany and turned the dojo over to Bill Sensei. Nevertheless Baumgartner Sensei returns to Santa Fe regularly to offer seminars at his former school. As a result for the past three years I’ve been driving over an hour each way to train several days a week in Santa Fe. I currently hold a Yoddan (4th degree blackbelt) recognized by the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo.
I regularly travel to seminars throughout the west and have attended those taught by Morihiro Saito, Hans Goto, Kim Peuser, Hoa Newans, Pat Hendricks, Bill Witt, Hiroshi Ikeda, Mitsugi Saotome, and the current Doshu, Morihei Ueshiba Sensei among others.
Charles Neal, Shodan, Assistant Instructor
Charles Neal was born and raised in Louisiana. As a young man he studied Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do. He cross trained in kickboxing, Taiiji Quan, Kung Fu, grappling, and mixed martial arts in Louisiana and New Mexico.
In 2001 Charles began his Aikido training under Sensei James Cornfield at Sandia Budokan. He holds a shodan rank from Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan. In 2015 he began training and functioning as an assistant instructor with Albuquerque Iwama Aikido.