Dave Mata, Chief Instructor (Dojo Cho), 5th Dan, Shidoin

David Mata Sensei, chief instructor of Grand Rapids Aikikai and founder of Kyoseikan Dojo (2005), has been recognized as godan (fifth-degree black belt) by the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan, and is a fully certified instructor (shidoin) through Birankai North America. Mata Sensei began his aikido training in 1995, spending a full year as a live-in student (uchideshi) and four years as a teacher trainee (kenshusei); he also led an Aikido program for youth for fifteen years.

Mata Sensei spent four years in the US Marine Corps, where he worked in aviation ordnance, on the Nuclear Biological and Chemical Response Team, and as an aircrew member. He then became a Michigan state police trooper, where he served until his retirement in 2012, working for three years as a clandestine operative and raid team member with the West Michigan Enforcement Team and then as a Post Community Service Officer. Mata Sensei introduced the first Women’s and Children’s Self-Defense Programs to the Michigan State Police and trained hundreds of women and children in self-defense through the RAD program. He also spent seven years as a State Police Defensive Tactics Instructor providing groundfighting, weapons retention, and arrest and disarming techniques to troopers from Western Michigan. He received awards for marksmanship and a Life-Saving medal. Mata Sensei has also studied both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (under Clint Crabtree and Professor Jorge Gurgel) and Kendo (under Yutaro Matsuura Sensei), and is currently training in Iaido at Kyoseikan Dojo.

Roo Heins, 6th Dan, Shidoin

Roo (Katherine) Heins Sensei teaches Iaido and assists with Aikido instruction at Kyoseikan Dojo. Born in Colorado, she grew up in Iowa and Michigan and received her BA in Classics from Columbia University in 1991. She began practicing Iaido and Aikido in New Mexico in 1995, and in 1999 moved to San Diego, California to train in these arts directly under T.K. Chiba Shihan, the founder of Birankai North America. Chiba Sensei studied Iaido in Tokyo under Mitsuzuka Takeshi Sensei, a direct student of Nakayama Hakudo Sensei, the founder of the Muso Shinden Ryu style. In 2004 Heins Sensei moved to Tokyo, where she studied Iaido under Kikkawa Hisashi Sensei (8th dan kyoshi, Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei [ZNKR, the All-Japan Kendo Federation]) and competed at
least twice a year in regional and city-wide tournaments before returning to the US in 2011. She passed her yondan (fourth-degree black belt) test under the ZNKR in 2013 at the all-Kanto examinations held at the Tokyo Budokan in Ayase, Japan.

While in Tokyo, Heins Sensei practiced Aikido at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo under Aikido Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba and other instructors, and currently holds the rank of rokudan (sixth-degree black belt). She also studied Shotokan Karate at the Shotokan Hombu Dojo in Iidabashi, earning her black belt in 2010. In addition, she has studied the Japanese tea ceremony with Yamada Kazeharu Sensei since 2005, and offers classes in tea ceremony at Kyoseikan Dojo on a limited basis.

Chris Mattoon, 3rd Dan

Chris Mattoon Sensei is a Sandan (Third Degree Black Belt) in Okinawan Uechi-Ryu Karatedo as recognized by the Okinawan Uecho Ryu Karatedo Association. Mattoon Sensei began training as a child in 1987 and since has practiced Uechi Ryu under Senseis Mark and Connie Flynn of Zenquest Martial Arts Ceter, Lexon, MA, students of Sensei Shigeru Takamiyagi and Sensei Toshio Higa of Okinawa. Additonally, Mattoon Sensei brings 7 years of martial arts teaching experience and a keen eye for the traditional forms of Uechi Ryu.

Chris Mattoon is also in demand locally and regionally as a drummer and percussionist. A student of R&B legend Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and former Boston Symphony Orchestra member W. Lee Vinson, Chris has a diverse educational background. He has performed with many regional acts, is a teacher and published author. Chris is also the co-director of the Young Musicians Workshop’s Rock On! Band Camp in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, now in its 17th year. Chris currently maintains a healthy student roster exclusively at R.I.T. Music in Grand Rapids, the county’s largest independent music store. Additionally, Chris has degrees in Mathematics, Engineering, and Physics.

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