Donovan Waite
Chief Instructor (Emeritus)

donovan waite

Donovan Waite Sensei started practicing Aikido in 1969, at a very young age. As a 14 year old, he received his 1st Degree Black Belt from Ralph Reynolds Sensei who was under the direction of T.K. Chiba Sensei in Birmingham, England. Since then Waite Sensei has spent the last 37 years pursuing a deeper understanding of Aikido. Along that path, Waite Sensei has had the opportunity to train under many of Aikido's foremost instructors. In 1984 he apprenticed himself to Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, chairman of the United States Aikido Federation and chief instructor of the New York Aikikai. For over ten years he was Uchi Deshi, or live-in student, under Yamada Sensei and he still holds a weekly teaching position at the New York Aikikai. Since 1997 Donovan Waite Sensei has been the chief instructor of Aikido of Center City.

He currently holds the rank of 7th Dan and is a certified Shihan, or Master Instructor, with both the United States Aikido Federation and the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Waite Sensei is one of the few, and one of the youngest, Westerners to reach this milestone. He also serves on the USAF Technical Committee. In addition to his duties with the USAF and Aikido of Center City, Waite Sensei extensively travels the world teaching Aikido. He has conducted Aikido seminars in various cities of North, Central, & South America, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, & South East Asia. Waite Sensei is a full-time, professional martial artist who has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of Aikido.

On February 22, 2021 Sensei passed unexpectantly at his home in Philadelphia. We honor him at Aikido of Chester County by continually training as he taught us.