• Florida Aikikai is one of the foremost Aikido dojos in North America.
  • Led by chief instructors Peter Bernath Sensei, 7th Dan, Shihan and Penny Bernath Sensei, 6th Dan, Shihan.
  • A dedicated student body including dozens of black belt students.
  • Over 35 years of dojo history and a direct lineage to the founder of Aikido, O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba.
  • A beautiful and traditional space with a 120 mat practice area.
Our Dojo-Cho

Peter Bernath, 7th Dan, Shihan

Chief Instructor

Chief instructor Peter Bernath is a Shichidan (7th degree black belt) and Shihan (master teacher) awarded by Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba, and a technical adviser of the United States Aikido Federation (USAF).

Bernath Sensei has been practicing Aikido for over 40 years under the direction of Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan who was an uchi deshi (live-in-student) of O Sensei the founder of Aikido.

He was sent to Florida in 1980 by Yamada Sensei to open Florida Aikikai where he met his wife Penny. He has traveled internationally, including Hombu dojo (Aikikai headquarters) in Japan studying under Aikido’s most famous teachers. Bernath sensei is one of the most highly respected Aikido instructors in the USAF and regularly teaches seminars throughout the world.

Penny Bernath, 6th Dan, Shihan

Penny Bernath is a rokudan (6th degree black belt) and Shihan (master teacher) and was a long time member of the USAF Board of Governors.

Penny Sensei started Aikido in 1973 in Hollywood, Florida with Steve House Sensei. She soon became a student of Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei and also studied under many of O Sensei’s direct students. One of the most senior female teachers in the United States, Penny Sensei regularly teaches at seminars throughout the country and abroad.

Penny Sensei is the Education Manager at WPBT2 South Florida PBS. She created and oversees the production of an online program for preschool teachers and kids called KidVision PreK.

Black Belt Instructors
History & Lineage
Florida Aikikai began as a small dojo with a few dedicated students over 35 years ago and has grown to be one of the largest and most renowned Aikido schools in North America. Over the years, many hundreds of people have entered the dojo with no prior training and have become skilled practitioners and valued members of our community. At Florida Aikikai, we pride ourselves on our dedication to training with enthusiasm and respect, on our openness to people from all individual and cultural backgrounds, and on our pursuit of the ultimate goals of Aikido as taught by the founder, O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba.
Perhaps the strongest influence on the character of our dojo is the teaching we have received from our Aikido forebears, the most prominent being Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, T.K. Chiba Sensei, Mitsunari Kanai Sensei, Seiichi Sugano Sensei, Akira Tohei Sensei, and Ichiro Shibata Sensei. These great Aikido teachers trained directly with O Sensei and helped to spread the philosophy and art of Aikido around the world. At Florida Aikikai, our training is characterized by a strong dedication to preserving the lessons of these great Aikido teachers while allowing each individual person to pursue their own unique understanding and expression of the principles of Aikido.

Florida Aikikai is a member of the United States Aikido Federation, a not-for-profit organization (501-C3), providing both technical and administrative guidance and support to its members.