Aikido Institute of Mid-America


Started in 1986 as Seidokan Aikido of St. Louis, the Aikido Institute of Mid-America is the second oldest Aikido Dojo in the greater St. Louis Area. It has been at its’ current location since 1989.


Through sincere, committed practice, the Aikidoka discovers how to be fluid and powerful. They discover that size and age do not make a difference. What truly matters is their spirit.


Our doors are open to all wishing to study the Art of Peace. AIMA provides a full program in Aikido Arts, Philosophy and Daily Life Applications for all levels of skill and interest.

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a Self-Defense Art and Way of Life. It challenges and trains the Aikidoka to new levels of self-understanding philosophically, physically and mentally. These lead ultimately to greater awareness and peace. The Aiki Way seeks to create Harmony wherever and whenever possible. It is a way of life, mastery and service.

Aikido offers all Aikidoka an opportunity to develop capabilities that lead to greater Harmony in their life. Aikido is also an effective system of Self-Defense based on unique understandings.

The Founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei

The Founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei, sought to change the fundamental basis of Budo. In his early training, particularly in Daito Ryu Jujitsu, much of what he studied was overtly aggressive and destructive. O’Sensei decided that he wanted his art to be reflective of the “Great Spirit Aiki”, the spirit of compassion and cooperation. Once he made this decision, he began to remove from his art all aggressive and destructive techniques. The result is an art that emphasizes blending with and responding to your partner. An art that achieves a sense of unity with your partner. The Aiki Way offers a positive, active approach and perspective towards creating Peace.

Seidokan Aikido

Robert Kobayashi, Founder of Seidokan Aikido

Seidokan Aikido was founded by Roderick T. Kobayashi Sensei (6th Dan Aikido) in March of 1981. Seidokan Aikido emphasizes the balanced practice of principles and techniques. Today, Seidokan is an international organization with its headquarters based in Los Angeles, California. There are Seidokan dojos throughout the United States, as well as in Israel and Japan.

Aikido Institute of Mid America (AIMA)​

Richard Harnack Sensei, Aikido Institute of Mid America founding Shihan

AIMA Founding Shihan

Richard Harnack began training in Aikido in 1976. A black belt since 1978, Harnack, Sensei, was a Rokudan (6th degree black belt). He trained for 19 years under the Founder of Seidokan Aikido, the late Roderick Kobayashi, Sensei.

Harnack, Sensei, was one of the Founding Instructors of Seidokan Aikido, and founded the Aikido Institute of Mid-America. Most recently, he served as one of the Shihan for Seidokan Aikido.


AIMA Instructor Emeritus​

Earl Rodgers, Jr. began his training in Seidokan Aikido in 1995, reaching the rank of Sandan (3rd degree black belt).  Earl’s martial arts include Okinawan Karate, Chinese Kempo, and Jiujitsu. He served as a combat instructor in both the Army and the Marines.

AIMA Instructors

Mark Thomas, Sensei, Chief Instructor for AIMA

Mark Thomas, Sensei, serves as the Chief Instructor for AIMA. He has studied Aikido since 1991 and achieved the rank of Sandan.

Jason Taff, Assistant Chief Instructor for AIMA

Jason Taff serves as the Assistant Chief Instructor for AIMA. He has studied Aikido since 2000 and achieved the rank of Sandan.

Susan Clauss, AIMA

Susan Clauss has studied Aikido since 2002 and achieved the rank of Nidan.


Reed Burns teaches the noon classes.  He has achieved the rank of Nidan.


Dave Wynn teaches some of the evening classes. He has achieved the rank of Shodon.


Brett Ferguson has studied Tae Kwon Do, Hap Ki Do, Chinese Kenpo and Garimot Arnis in addition to achieving the rank of Shodan in Aikido.