Heaven & Earth Aikido


“There are no contests in the Art of Peace. A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing. Defeat means to defeat the mind of contention that we harbor within.”

— Morihei Ueshiba, (O’ Sensei) The Founder of Aikido

Aikido is the ever-evolving manifestation of principles and technical movements first envisioned by its founder, Ueshiba Morihei (O’ Sensei). Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art which seeks to blend and harmonize with an attack rather than fight against it. The spontaneous, fluid, and dynamic movements utilized in Aikido may be used to unbalance an aggressor and render them harmless. An emphasis on traditional martial aspects such as proper timing, spacing, blending, and awareness are continually refined through our practice. Aikido provides practitioners with a physical vehicle with which to train the body while also opening the door to deeper spiritual and philosophical avenues. In the end, it is for each student to decide just how far along the path they will travel, or how much they wish to discover.

The name Aikido is composed of three distinct components:




Spirit or energy


Path or way

Unlike many arts being practiced today, Aikido does not engage in any sort of combative competition. O’ Sensei believed that the only true or correct victory was victory over one’s self. He dedicated a great deal of his life to teaching that message, and it is often reflected in his calligraphy and writings.

“A warrior is invincible because he contends with nothing but himself. Defeat means to defeat the mind of contention we have within.”

— Morihei Ueshiba, (O’ Sensei)

The purpose of Aikido is to become a warrior with one’s life challenges , to be victorious in accomplishing one’s mission in life.

At Heaven & Earth Aikido, we strive to help people build the skills required to face these challenges. Our mission is to improve ourselves and to improve the world.

Heaven & Earth Aikido was founded to give all people a place to follow their path towards physical fitness, balance, strength and inner peace. We support and cultivate martial exploration as both a means towards finding balance and harmony with others and with life.

Heaven & Earth Aikido is affiliated with New Hombu Dojo in Tokyo (aikikai.or.jp/eng) and New York Akikai (nyakikai.com)


Sensei Brian Ericksen

Head Instructor, Heaven & Earth Aikido, 4th Dan
Ericksen Sensei has over 25 years of experience in Aikido. For 3 years he was Uchideshi (Inner Student) to Shihan Yoshimitsu Yamada 8th Dan, Chairman of the USAF and direct student of Morihei Ueshiba.

Sensei Stephen Gayer

Shin Ryu Aikido, 6th Dan
He began training in Aikido in 1966 under Isao Takehashi Sensei in Los Angeles, continuing with R. Heifetz and R. Kobayashi Sensei’s in California. From 1977 began instructing law enforcement, stunt men, celebrities and regular students in California. In 1981 began training under Sensei Koichi Barrish, Soke of Shin Ryu Aikido.

Sensei Victor Garcia

Instructor, 2nd Dan
Victor Garcia has been practicing aikido since 2004. He holds the rank of Nidan aikido and the rank of Shodan in Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido.

Sensei Tony Breda

Shodan, Assistant Instructor and Board Member
Breda started studying Aikido in 1985 at Shobukan Dojo in Washington DC with Saotome Sensei. Later he continued at Baltimore Aikido with Sensei Chuck Webber and Sensei Charlie Page. In 2013 he joined HEA as a student and more recently assistant instructor. A recovering professional chef, he does catering, growing wonderful things for his culinary creations and making the world a better place… one throw at a time.”

Tammy Bowcutt

Leadership Coaching and Dojo Operations Director
Tammy is ACC accredited by the International Coach Federation. She studied coaching at Georgetown University and is certified as a somatic leadership coach by the Strozzi Institute. She uses Aikido moves and other body practices to help people practice practical conversations and behaviors. As Dojo Operations Director, Tammy manages much of the day-to-day operations at the Center.

Peter Wilson

Peter Wilson holds black belt rankings in two jujitsu systems and has been recognized at the black belt level in judo. He has extensive experience teaching both children and adults, teaching judo to children ages 5 – 15 with the Spanish Education Development Center and people of all ages jujitsu through the Satori Ryu system. When Peter is not practicing Aikido, you can find him on the fencing piste. He holds competitive ratings in both foil and epee.