Additional Instructors

Charlie Stapp – 5th Dan Charlie has been training in Aikido for 26 years, starting his training in 1987 under Bob Noha Sensei. His current rank is godon(5th degree blackbelt) with his shodan (1st degree awarded to him in 1994). When asked what he likes to emphasize most in his classes, he says, “I like to express a good quality of basics that expand into good flowing movement … and good sweaty classes. “Charlie’s classes are always fun and although his classes are fast paced, he readily accommodates all levels of training and maintains that students train at a level comfortable.

aikido-1 Sasun Torikian – 4th Dan I started training over 23 years ago and has attained the rank of Sandan (4th degree black belt).  I have been at the Aikido of Petaluma school since his first day of training and can still remember my first lessons with Bob Noha. I have, over the years attended many workshops and seminars including a trip to Hombu Dojo.  As I like to travel I have also had the chance to train in Australia, England and Germany as well as attended classes in other Dojos in the area and in other states. I have been teaching since I first got my Shodan (1st degree black belt) and have been teaching the fundamental classes for over 2 years. Aikido, for me, is an art of personal transformation which is practiced within the medium of a martial art.  The martial art is secondary to the embodiment of Aikido principals in class and in our everyday


Aldo Quezada – 2nd Dan In 2004 I joined Petaluma Aikido. I was an avid soccer player at the time and took the class to stay limber until the next season started. I had studied Judo earlier in life and always wanted to resume training but, at that point in my life I wasn’t sure I could physically stand the rigor. A friend told me about Aikido so I visited Aikido of Petaluma. The class I visited had a wide age range with a mixture of experience levels. I thought, “Maybe I could do this” and signed up.

After over a decade of training, I found myself naturally drawn to the technical side of the art; the open hand techniques and the various weapons training systems. However, the spiritual and philosophical components turned out to be just as intriguing and make training a continuous learning experience

Aikido is great for ones health and a lot of fun. If you enjoy physical activity and are interested in examining aspects of your body, mind and spirit come on by and give it a try.

Robin Palmer – 3rd Dan I have been training in Aikido for about 30 years, starting in 1985 under Bob Noha Sensei. My current rank is sandan (3rd degree black belt). Sensei recently asked me if I would like to be the new student instructor. I am finding this a good role for me. When I started, I had little awareness of my own body, had not been physically active, and found Aikido quite challenging in so many ways. Just getting up and down from the mat was difficult. However, the one thing I did have was perseverance. It took me ten years to get my shodan (1st degree black belt), not because I was lazy, or didn’t train consistently, but because I had so many challenges to overcome in my own personal development and growth. Thanks to Sensei’s faith in me, never giving up on me, treating me like every other student, not overwhelming me with criticism, but just enough to grow, I grew and gained confidence. Now I want to return the faith and dedication to our new students. One important principle I learned from Sensei in working with beginners, is to not overwhelm them with feedback, criticism, words, talk, but let them learn from training, by being as good a training partner as possible. Another principle is to give positive feedback, and one suggestion to work on. I like working with new students. It refreshes my spirit, and motivates me to improve myself. After all, they are the lifeblood of the dojo.

Liam Robertson – 2nd Dan Liam started training in Aikido about a decade ago, with a
previous background in shotokan karate and stage combat. Liam began intermixing his Aikido
training with a robust schedule of working as an arts educator, actor, and musician over the
past decade. He attributes the principles and practice of Aikido and self development to
making him a better artist, teacher, and human being. Liam likes to take these lessons and
insights from Aikido that have been crossing over into his artistic, physical, and life
experiences, to sharing them in his classes. Liam is enormously grateful for the teaching and
guidance from Noha Sensei, and the support from this wonderful dojo.