West Coast Aikido Academy Senior Instructors

Master Ross Taylor
5th degree black belt

Master Instructor, Ross Taylor Shihan began his martial arts training in Judo in the 1970’s studying with a friend’s father who was a Western Australian Judo champion. After a few years of informal training Taylor Shihan found that Judo was getting in the way of his first love, Australian football.

During his late teens Shihan resumed formal martial arts training with the Jan DeJong School of Self Defence in Perth. Shihan thought he was going to learn karate however, he soon found out that what he was actually learning was the Indonesian martial art of Penkat Silat. Also, what Shihan did not know at the time was that two of the highest ranking Sensei in the school would play an integral part in Shihan’s eventual creation of his own martial arts school.

Jan DeJong Sensei was an icon of the Perth martial arts scene for well over a half a century and for many years ran possibly the largest and only professional martial arts school in Western Australia. During the 1970’s DeJong Sensei travelled to Japan to train with some of the leading Japanese martial artists of the time. One those was Minoru Mochizuki, founder of Yoseikan Budo. Mochizuki, a direct student of the founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, had also trained under Gichin Funikoshi of modern day karate fame and Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo and was eventually awarded a Menkyo Kaiden certificate from Ueshiba, granting him expert status in Ueshiba’s form of budo.

Upon his return to Perth DeJong Sensei requested that Mochizuki send a representative from the Yoseikan to Perth to teach at his dojo. The person Mochizuki chose would be a twenty four year old black belt who excelled in many different martial disciplines and who had been training with Mochizuki from a young age. His name was Yoshiaki Unno and he would eventually become Taylor Shihan’s Sensei.

Shihan only stayed for a short while at DeJong’s school and would eventually concentrate more on his football career. However he realised that after playing competitive sports since he was 6 years of age that his body started to feel the strain of competition and felt the need to seek out another way of developing himself physically, mentally and spiritually.

So in his mid-twenties Taylor Shihan went looking for a martial art that would satisfy his desire. He was fortunate enough to find an excellent karate teacher who would pass on the fighting qualities and toughness of his particular style of Wado Ryu karate. It was an exciting time where Shihan competed in many karate tournaments and would eventually earn his Black Belt. Soon after this he would teach for his Sensei for a short time before becoming disillusioned with the direction the school was heading in eventually leaving to seek out further martial arts training.
During this time Shihan rediscovered the training he had done with a friend who was a kung fu student back in 1970’s. Shihan remembered the training drills they had worked on and perfected and therefore decided he wanted to go down the Jeet Kun Do/Wing Chun route he had started on all those years ago. Luckily there was teacher who taught these skills but his school was over 50 km away! Well when you want something badly enough you will do anything to get it. So Shihan travelled the 100km round trip at least once, sometimes twice per week for over a year to train with his new teacher. The school was immersing itself in kung fu, jeet kune do and the Filipino martial art of Kali and it was during this time that the school sponsored Bruce Lee’s number one student, Guro Dan Inosanto out to Perth to teach a series of seminars. Shihan was lucky enough to meet and train with Guro Inosanto who did so much for the development of Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do and the Filipino martial arts. However, soon after the Inosanto seminar the school abruptly closed and Shihan was soon left to seek out another teacher.

Aikido was not very well known in the 1970’s and 80’s, especially in Perth, but by late 1986 Taylor Shihan, going in search of another karate school, would eventually stumble upon aikido purely by chance!

Looking in the Yellow Pages Shihan discovered a Japanese instructor teaching Karate, Iaido and something called Aikido! He also noticed that this instructor had black belts in several martial arts. Subsequently Shihan was soon at the doorstep of this Japanese martial artist asking about lessons in karate. However, Shihan was told that he only taught karate to kids and instead advised Shihan to come back the next day for different training. Returning the next day Shihan would start on a journey that would transform his life! That day there were a dozen other students standing on the mats with him ready to bow in. The instructor was Yoshiaki Unno Sensei a 7th Dan in aikido and a direct student of Minoru Mochizuki Sensei, founder of Yoseikan Budo. The connection was made and a new history had began.

Shihan had seven memorable years training under Unno Sensei. It was a very challenging time as Hollywood action star and aikidoka Steven Seagal had exploded onto the movie scene with his version of martial arts action films and it was during this period that Shihan and his fellow students would constantly be challenged by other martial artists to test their skills.

Unfortunately during this period Unno Sensei was not a well man. He did however give Shihan permission to start his own classes. So in July 1993 Taylor Shihan, having attained Nidan (2nd degree black belt), founded the West Coast Aikido Academy of Western Australia to continue the strong and direct style of aikido taught to him by Unno Sensei.

Soon after Shihan developed a connection with Unno Sensei’s teachers in Japan and has since travelled to Japan on a number of occasions to update his training receiving personal instruction from Unno Sensei’s teacher the late Minoru Mochizuki in Shizuoka City and from senior students of Master Mochizuki including Nobumasa Yoshida Sensei (9th Dan) in Tokyo; Masashi Sugiyama Sensei (8th Dan) in Hamamatsu City; Patrick Auge (8th Dan) in Los Angeles and Kazumi Koga Sensei (6th Dan) in Ebina City, Japan. Taylor Shihan especially developed a very close association and relationship with Koga Sensei visiting his private dojo in Ebina City regularly and eventually being awarded 5th Dan Black Belt from Koga Sensei in 2014.

Over the past 20 years Shihan has been featured in numerous local news media, print articles and on film and has also been featured in Martial Arts Success magazine. He travels extensively every year to martial arts trade shows and skills workshops to upgrade his martial arts skills and to elevate the quality and professionalism of his school and instructors.

Taylor Shihan is a devoted husband and father of two daughters and is dedicated to sharing the life-saving physical techniques, life skills and character development benefits of aikido to help people get the best from their lives. He currently teaches at his dojo in Wangara in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia

• Martial Arts Industry Association (Elite Membership)
• International Martial Arts Alliance (Martial Arts Australia)
• Is a Registered Martial Arts Professional (R.M.A.P)
• The 100 Method (Martial Arts School and Career Management)

 

Claude Zabeo
4th degree black belt

Mr Zabeo began his training in Aikido with Taylor Sensei in 1996 at the Greenwood YMCA dojo. Receiving his rank of 1st Dan Black Belt in 1999, Mr Zabeo has been a willing and able assistant to Taylor Sensei. He is well respected by all members of the Aikido Academy and also by associates from other organisations.

 

 

Weislaw Zadanowicz
2nd degree black belt

Wes’s first experience with martial arts started when as a teenager he trained in judo and then karate in his birthplace, Poland for several years.

After immigrating to Australia Wes started training in Goju-Kai karate at Brian Mackie’s dojo in Perth in 1993. However, due to work commitments he had to stop his training in 1999. At this stage Wes had attained the rank of brown belt.

A few years later, after reading some articles about different martial arts, Wes became interested in Aikido and especially its unique philosophy. After this he decided to start his martial arts training again and in 2002 Wes joined our Academy.

In 2009 Wes attained the rank of Shodan (1st degree black belt). When he is not busy running his leak detection business Wes likes to travel the world (especially on his motorbike). Wes’s other interests include, scuba diving, windsurfing and paragliding.

Wes currently teaches the Adult’s class on Tuesday nights.

Troy Pearce
2nd degree black belt

Having always had a passion for the martial arts, Troy started out at a local karate club where he learnt the basic techniques and etiquette. After catching the martial arts ‘bug’, Troy decided to give aikido a try starting classes at West Coast Aikido in 2004. In 2008, after many hours of basic and advanced training Troy was promoted to the rank of Shodan (1st degree Black Belt).

Prior to attaining his Black Belt Troy was actively involved as an instructor in the junior program and also as an assistant in the adult classes. Along with his martial arts training Troy has also taken part in science studies at university and volunteers his time for St John Ambulance service in a country sub-centre.

 

David Pearce
2nd degree black belt

Having always had a passion for fitness David started his martial arts journey with West Coast Aikido in 2004 with the idea of using aikido to regain his fitness and flexibility after many years of bricklaying. Soon after starting aikido David found out that aikido training was not just physical but strongly influenced the mental and spiritual aspects of his life. In 2009, after many hours of basic and advanced training David was promoted to the rank of Shodan (1st degree Black Belt). David is well respected by the kids and parents and his mild but firm manner helps keep the kids in order during class.

 

Will Huntley
2nd degree black belt

Will Huntley comes to us from the U.S. where he used to create movie monsters for the film industry.

A married father of two, Will, an accomplished Sculptor/Artist, now teaches art/sculpture at ECU and WAAPA, coaches Auskick, and works full time for a company called Kirkside Products, in Osborne Park, selling fibreglass and artist materials.

Mr. Huntley has always been involved in sports, such as Soccer, American Football and Baseball both as a coach and a participant.

Will and his son Zane started Aikido a few years ago. And it was only a short time before Sensei Ross, noticing his passion for Aikido and working with kids, asked him if he would like to become an Assistant Sensei. Will runs the Saturday morning kids classes.

 

Colin Niland
1st Degree Black Belt

Certified Kettlebell Instructor L-1 under Steve Maxwell, MS Head Coach, Steve Maxwell Strength & Conditioning.

Trained in Martial Arts for almost 35 years, started Judo at 8 yrs old, over the years he has trained in Kick Boxing, BJJ and Karate.

He holds a 1st Dan Black Belt in Tang Soo Do (Korean Shotokan Karate) and a 4th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

“Training in the martial arts has helped me understand that martial arts are not about fighting, but a way of life. Lessons you learn in the Dojo can be used daily to improve focus, concentration and applied to deal with the stresses we all placed on ourselves in our modern lifestyles.”

Colin currently assists in our adult classes.