Charlotte Norris

Charlotte began aikido training in 1986 in Hamden, CT. She immediately found joy in the challenges of this remarkable art. Over the years she was able to train fairly regularly in various dojos while raising her daughter and working full time as a nurse. Through the years she has been most influenced by Aaron Ward Sensei (her instructor in Burlington VT), Mary Heiny Sensei, Leo Tamaki Sensei (founder of Kishinkai in Paris, France), and Yoshi Shibata Sensei. She is overjoyed to have found Rising Sun Aikido and Leslie Libby Sensei after she moved to Austin in 2020. The wider community of aikido, which meets at seminars, is also a great source of learning and support.

Charlotte’s practice at present is informed by joyful exploration of the energetic connections we have to each other and the play of power that results from sincere and respectful practice. It is always a wonder to her to observe the benefits newcomers find in the practice, and she hopes to be able to contribute to the growth of the Rising Sun Dojo.

Chase Valdez

Chase began aikido in 1988 in Oklahoma with Douglas Hanson Sensei, (Rokudan, ASU). After moving to NYC in 1997, Chase trained at the Bond Street Dojo with the late Paul Kang Sensei, (Rokudan, ASU), and others. In 2010, he began training with Andrew Sato Sensei, (Nanadan, AWA) the chief instructor for Aikido World Alliance. In 2016, he continued to study with Hal Leherman Sensei, (Nanadan, USAF) at Aikido of Park Slope and eventually helped start Bushwick Dojo under the guidance of Claire Keller Sensei (Rokudan, SKAA). He has also received instruction from many top practitioners throughout the US and abroad, and is excited to share these experiences with the Rising Sun Dojo community.

Chase believes that we are all connected and Aikido gives us the opportunity to explore those connections in a deep and meaningful way.

Chase is ranked Sandan through the Aikikai World Headquarters Hombu Dojo (Tokyo, Japan), and teaches our beginner as well as adult classes, when needed.