BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The dojo's board of directors main purpose and mission:
To set the example and standard of Aikido practice and leadership in Pinellas County through consistent analysis and action across the physical practice of Aikido, examinations, inclusivity, community, and the dojo structure.
Meet Your Board of Directors
Dojo Cho & Chief Instructor
Reuven Lirov has been practicing and teaching Aikido since 2007 and currently holds a Sandan, or 3rd degree black belt and Fukushidoin (teaching certification) through the United States Aikido Federation and Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. Reuven spent two years as a full time apprentice, or "uchi deshi" to Rick Stickles Shihan at Aikido Schools of New Jersey.
Sensei's Responsibilities Include: Adult Program Training, Bushido Blades, Physical Training (AikiFit), Overall Dojo Programming, and Seminar Instruction Around the World.
Cross Training: Judo, Muay Thai, Hwa Rang Do, Jeet Kun Do
Theresa began her training at Aikido of Red Bank in 2010, training almost daily for a full year before moving to Florida and continuing her training at Florida Aikido Center (Gina Boccolucci sensei).
She was instrumental in establishing Pinellas County Aikikai's dojo in Clearwater, not only as a student and member, but also in the dojo's design and construction.
Theresa was one of the first recipients of the dojo's Plaque of Recognition for her efforts and commitment to both Aikido and the dojo.
Childrens Program Director & Board Member
Matt Addison started training Aikido under Sensei Gina Boccolucci in Tampa prior to his move across the bay. Matt currently holds the rank of Shodan (1st degree black belt) and heads up the dojo's childrens program under the guidance of chief instructor Reuven Lirov Sensei.
Sempai Matthew's Responsibilities Include: Little, Junior, and Senior Samurai Training Programs, and School Break Programs (including Summer Camps).
Cross Training: Tai Chi, Wing Chun, Studying Traditional Eastern Medicine
Michele began her training at Pinellas County Aikikai in 2019 after seeing how much fun her daughter was having in the Junior Samurai program.
Prior to the COVID shutdowns, she was instrumental in helping to grow the Women's Only program at the dojo and looks forward to re-launching this program in the near future.
With a rich background in Yoga and healing arts, she brings warmth and passion to her practice alongside her longtime partner, Matthew Addison.
Rich began his training in 2017 with Reuven Lirov Sensei at Pinellas County Aikikai. With longtime friends across the country, he has and continues to travel regularly to train at many dojos, with many teachers.
Rich has consistently donated his time and effort to the dojo and its mission, from on the mat commitment to training, all the way to off the mat help to sempai and kohai alike.
Rich is an example to follow when it comes to service and commitment.
Dr. Gene Healy
Dr. Gene Healy is an acupuncture physician and doctor of oriental medicine. He has treated over fifty thousand patients.
After graduation he worked and studied extensively in Asia, learning from accomplished teachers of Oriental Medicine in South Korea. He has also taught Oriental Medicine in universities in South Korea in both English and Korean and has practiced medicine in 8 countries around the world: U.S.A., South Korea, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines. His experience ranges from the acute injuries and chronic illnesses of American patients to the suffering of the destitute in the rural areas of India.
Currently, Dr. Healy is the owner of Root Healing Wellness, providing acupuncture in Dunedin, near Palm Harbor, Clearwater, and other Pinellas County communities. He is also proud to be working with Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute where he offers community-style acupuncture at two sites in Clearwater and Largo.
Dr. Healy also has a B.A. in Religion and has practiced yoga and meditation since 1995. He first learned yoga in temple settings in South Korea and has taught extensively in South Korea, India, Cambodia as well as the United States. He teaches yoga and meditation according to each patient’s abilities and needs. Dr. Healy has also completed many intensive meditation retreats during his travels, studying and practicing alongside respected teachers. His meditation experience ranges from insight meditation to zen and mantra meditation.
Dr. Healy currently teaches yoga and meditation at various places in Dunedin along with Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute.
Dr. Yuval Lirov, PhD
Yuval has been involved in martial arts since his early years in Sambo in Lithuania and then Judo as he made his way to Israel and then to the United States.
While building a career and family in New Jersey, Yuval continued training in Judo and Aikido, along with his three sons, Erez, Roy, and Reuven. He was instrumental in the founding of Pinellas County Aikikai in 2014, helping to secure the dojo's first location.
Along with his advising role in the dojo today, he continues to practice Aikido as an example of Aikido's longitudinal value. In addition, he is an avid fitness and yoga practitioner, constantly looking and experimenting with new ways to remain at peak vitality.
Richard Stickles Shihan
Founding Board Member (in memoriam)
Richard Stickles Sensei is made an honorary board member in perpetuity. In 2014, he was the original sponsoring Shihan for the creation of Pinellas County Aikikai along with the personal mentoring of our chief instructor from his uchi-deshi days until the day Stickles Sensei passed away.
His passion for Aikido and spreading its teachings compel us to bring our best selves to each and every opportunity we have to share Aikido with the world.
Stickles Sensei's spirit will live on through our shared mission and commitment to Aikido.
Each aspect of our dojo family is up for discussion amongst our Board Members, and no subject is taboo. Even if it risks offense, open and honest discussion is critical to ensuring that the dojo is always acting in its members' best interests.