ASNJ has an instruction staff of over 20 instructors who have been personally trained by Shihan Stickles.  In addition, as resident instructors, ASNJ has instructors teaching from New York Aikikai, Aikido of Red Bank, Newark Aikido, and Long Beach Island Aikikai.  Visiting instructors from around the country give special seminars on a regular basis. 




ASNJ Founder



Rick Stickles, Shihan, 7th Dan

Richard M. Stickles had been practicing and teaching Aikido and its related arts for over 40 years, and was one of the few full-time Aikido teachers in the United States. Sensei Stickles was certified as Shihan (Master Teacher) by the United States Aikido Federation and the World Aikikai Foundation (Tokyo). He was one of only a handful of teachers appointed Shihan outside Japan. A 7th-degree black belt, Sensei Stickles was one of the highest-ranking and most senior traditional Aikido teachers in the country. A distance runner for 10 years, Sensei Stickles attended NYU on a full athletic scholarship, receiving a B.A. in theater and communications. Shortly after graduation, he was introduced to Aikido.


Sensei Stickles was on the instruction staff of the New York Aikikai and founded Aikido Schools of New Jersey in 1977. He was the senior representative to the United States Aikido Federation in New Jersey.  He continued to run on a regular basis and was a daily practitioner of Dzogchen (Tibetan) meditation. Outside the dojo he loved spending time with his family (he was married with three children) and played a round of golf whenever and wherever possible.


On June 21, 2015, Sensei Stickles passed away.



Connie Trumper, 4th Dan



Buck Braxton, 4th Dan










Joseph Roy, Shidoin, 4th Dan  -  ASNJ Head Instructor


Joseph Roy began his martial arts training with Shito Ryu Karate and Toyama Ryu Batto Jitsu under Sensei Charles Hobib in 1993. He has also trained in Traditional Chinese medicine and has worked as a massage therapist with a specialization in Japanese Shiatsu and Jin Shin Jitsu. In 2001, he began his training in Aikido under Shihan Rick Stickles and Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido under the tutelage of Shihan Roger Wehrhahn. He served as uchi deshi (live in apprentice) at Aikido Schools of New Jersey from 2002 to 2006. During this time he studied Dzochen meditation and mindful awareness with acclaimed author and spiritual guru Dean Sluyter.  Now as resident instructor and administrative coordinator, Joseph teaches Aikido and Iaido and is instrumental in the day-to-day operation of Aikido Schools of New Jersey.  He is a certified Shidoin (instructor) by the United States aikido Federation.

“Aikido relates to all things in life. It is more than just a martial art; it is a way of life for the peaceful human being.”




Derrell Thomas, Fuku Shidoin, 3rd Dan


Derrell Thomas began his practice of Aikido in the fall of 2000 in ASNJ's old Elizabeth location.  He dropped a family member off who had just begun training, watched a little of the class, and never looked back.


Derrell is currently ranked Sandan (3rd Degree Black Belt) in two martial arts: Aikido and his second martial art, Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido.  He started an Aikido program "Newark Aikido", teaching out of the YMCA in September of 2008.  Derrell is still on the instruction staff and teaches at least once a week at ASNJ in Roselle Park.  


Derrell is a Fukushidoin, (certified instructor) with the United States Aikido Federation.


"I have seen Aikido change people's lives, and I've seen the dojo save people's lives."




Walter Baker, 3rd Dan



Bernard Hodelin, 2nd Dan



Cosjun Pabua, 2nd Dan


Jun Pabua started his Aikido training in 2004 at ASNJ under Shihan Rick Stickles Sensei and currently hold the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt.  Prior to Aikido, he studied Nanzen Kai Karate in Staten Island, NY, where he got his 1st Dan certificate from Kaicho Tamon Kashimoto in 2003.  His vascination in Martial Arts led him to learn more especially the Multi Systems of the Filipino Martial Arts of Kali / Excrima / Arnis under Grandmaster Dong Cuesta.


When Jun is not busy as new product developer at Kraft Foods-Planters, he teaches Aikido once a month on Saturdays.  He plays rhythm guitar of the 60's to the 90's music with the GrownUp Band in Staten Island.


"Every Martial Art has its own unique style, so be humble with what you know.  Impart the knowledge to others who are interested to learn and give respect to those who came before you"




Frank Pakulski, 3rd Dan










Matt McCann, 3rd Dan


Matthew's initial attraction to the martial arts had been about the sword.  He studied many formal training methods from sport fencing, to stage fighting, to medieval reenactment.  In 2004, his search led him to Aikido.  He became soto deshi (apprentice) under Shihan Rick Stickles at Aikido Schools of New Jersey and joined the instruction staff in 2008.  


"Aikido perfectly integrates the martial practice of the sword with its physical and spiritual benefits more thoroughly and more practically that anything I've encountered before or since."




Danny Nunez, 2nd Dan


Danny Nunez, born 1975 in Hoboken, New Jersey. I started training in Aikido in 2007 and currently hold the rank of Nidan and still train under Shihan Rick Stickles at ASNJ.  Aikido has been a big part of my life.  It has changed me physically and spiritually.  I have studied other martial arts, but none have ever truly showed me the meaning of the budo way as Aikido has.


"Teaching those what I have learned and know about the art of peace, and seeing the joy in their faces ... there is nothing like it"  




Sheila Cahilig, 2nd Dan



Jeff Marfil, 2nd Dan










Barry Stafford, 1st Dan