Open Sky instructors excel in teaching Aikido and Tai Chi. Each are experienced, advanced teachers operating under the guidance of our chief instructor, Steve Kaufmann, Shihan. They emphasize a safe, grounded and enjoyable practice for beginning and advanced martial arts students, and give individual attention during each class. All instructors focus on core building, joint alignment and body conditioning while learning techniques.
Katie Haywood, Yondan, Fukushidoin has been with Open Sky since our first year and has been teaching the Sunday afternoon mixed-level class since 2000. Katie offers private Aikido lessons. Beginners and students preparing for kyu tests are encouraged to attend her class. Katie received her 4th degree black belt October 11, 2014. Outside the dojo, she works as a freelance publishing professional.
Andy Wood, Sandan, Fukushidoin, teaches Aikido and Aikido weapons. He has a 3rd degree black belt rank and Fukushidoin teaching certificate in aikido. He owns Wood Construction Co. His two children attended and taught at Open Sky.
Mike Dolan Fliss, Sandan, teaches adult Aikido and has been a student of Grand Master Wang Hai Jun for nearly ten years. Mike is a graduate of both Duke University, where he was president of the Tae Kwon Do club, and the University of North Carolina (Masters in Social Work). He is currently a PhD student in Epidemiology at UNC-Chapel Hill, working for public health non-profits and the NC health department.
Jesse Kaufmann, Nidan, has a 2nd degree black belt rank in aikido and teaches Tai Chi. She is the school administrator. Her teaching experience includes nine years as an instructor of children’s Aikido, ten years as an instructor in children’s after-school programs, and six years as a humane educator for children at the Animal Protection Society in Chapel Hill.