While studying with two great T’ai Chi Ch’uan Masters in New York City, Decker Sensei began his Aikido journey in 1985 at the New York Aikikai. He was fortunate to study with and take classes taught by the greatest of Japanese masters, the students and heirs of Morihei Ueshiba or O’Sensei (Great Teacher), the Founder of Aikido. He studied under Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan, 8th Dan and Seiichi Sugano Shihan, 8th Dan, at the NY Aikikai, and others, but, it was the genius of Shihan Mitsugi Saotome Sensei, 8th Dan, who set him firmly on the path of Aikido, and opened his eyes to the true magic of AIKI.
Today, Decker Sensei is one of the senior instructors (in the traditional Japanese Menkyo system, the mokuroku was a catalog of senior and notable practitioners of a martial organization or tradition) in the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba and frequently travels to the United States to attend Saotome Shihan’s seminars. He currently holds the Rank of Rokudan, 6th Dan Aikikai Tokyo, awarded by Philippe Gouttard Shihan, 7th Dan Aikikai Tokyo.
Decker Sensei uses a soft approach to Aikido, focusing on connection (before the moment of physical contact, throughout and after) and soft power (light touch – heavy hands), moving away from the use of physical force. He looks at Aikido as meditation in action and action in meditation, a practice that emphasizes stillness through motion. He looks at the ‘DO’ in Aikido as a nameless process that happens, that changes the student’s shape of thoughts and actions over time, not through words and knowing but through feeling and listening.