Michael Haft Sensei, 5th dan
Mike’s first experience with Budo began in the 1980s when his parents introduced him to karate. During his teenage years he began learning t’ai chi ch’uan as well as occasionally dabbling in other arts just to see what they were like - a habit he has continued with ever since. However, it was in 1997 at the age of eighteen that he first encountered the art that was to become his main focus: aikido. Mike was introduced to aikido when he began studying at university in Plymouth, under the tutelage of Geoff Flather Sensei. Mike became an instructor in 2002 when he founded the Imperial College Aikido Club. Since then he has gone on to found a number of other aikido clubs. Whilst studying for his PhD, he founded the present incarnation of the Aberdeen University Aikido Club in September 2004 and the Aberdeen City Aikido Club in April 2006, he also oversaw the creation of an aikido club at Robert Gordon’s University in 2007. Also while studying in Aberdeen Mike studied kendo with Kazuo Yamazaki Sensei for a few years and helped him set up the first ever Aberdeen University Kendo Club.
From 2004-2017, Mike's original teacher was affiliated to Aikido Yuishinkai, and it was in 2004 that Mike was first exposed to the teachings of Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei. In 2009 Mike decided to leave Flather Sensei's association and independently affiliated the Takagashira Dojo to Aikido Yuishinkai, he was greatly assisted in this process by Denis Burke Sensei who was at that time also affiliated to Aikido Yuishinkai. Since then Mike has been a direct student of Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei and works hard to teach the aikido taught to him by Maruyama Sensei, who learned it directly from the founder of aikido himself. In January 2014 Maruyama Sensei promoted Mike to the rank of godan (5th dan) in Aikido Yuishinkai, Mike regularly attends Aikido Yuishinkai seminars in Europe and Japan and has been the host for Maruyama Sensei's European seminar in both 2014 and 2017.
In 2018 Mike relocated to London Mon-Fri for work reasons and so opened the Renshinkan Dojo there, the dojo name was given to him by Maruyama Sensei and means 'a place to train the spirit'. He is currently the dojo instuctor for both the Kendal and London dojos.