All of Aikido of Midland's Instructors are ranked with the Aikikai.



John H. Riggs, Aikikai 5th dan (godan 2016)

Riggs sensei's aikido has evolved from and continues to be influenced by many instructors, styles and arts.  Primary influences on his aikido come from Kato sensei and Frager sensei with influences from Ikeda sensei, Endo sensei and Ledyard sensei, among others.  His current interests lie in the energy aspect of the art or ki.  His particular interests include moving subtle energy inside the body with minimal perceptive physical movement. He continues to study energy concepts from many arts including aikido, tai chi, kung fu and other sources.  Whereever concepts or viewpoints make sense and are teachable and practical they are "aikidoized" , i.e., integrated into the movement patterns and techniques of his aikido.  To stop studying is to stagnate.  Sensei Riggs also has a strong interest in aikido weapons and atemi.

  • Ranks:  Aikikai:  godan (1/2016), yondan (11/2003), sandan (2/2000), nidan (1/1997), Dojin-shodan (12/1994).  
  • Dr. John H. Riggs is a practicing doctor of chiropractic orthopedist (board certified) holding active licenses in Texas and Michigan Inactive-Tennessee and California.   He owns his own clinic in Midland, TX.
  • Involved in the martial arts since the late 1960s and early 1970s when introduced to karate in the U.S. Air Force (shotokan and shudokan).   Also Taekwondo, Kali-Lua Do, and Tai Chi studies.
  • Started Aikido in 1973 under Shoji Masao (5th dan, Ki Society) at the YMCA and trained until 1975 (1-1/2 years) when he relocated to San Diego, CA to attend graduate school (San Diego State University). Sadly, Shoji sensei died in January 2004.
  • Returned to study in 1992 at the Moreno Valley School of Aikido and Karate (Mike Smith Sensei (sandan, Dojin Aikikai). Then later under Ed Carroll Sensei (sandan, Dojin Aikikai) at California State University at San Bernardino, concurrently studying with Phillip Greenwood (sandan at that time, ASU) at Temecula Aikikai. Dual tested with both organizations.

  • Helped write charter and set up a Texas local association.  
  • Formerly on the board of directors and test committee and was the Vice President and Technical Director for the Shudokan Aikido Association (SAA).
  • Published articles in Aikido Today Magazine (2), Black Belt Magazine (1).  Two of the articles have been republished in the European Aikido Journal (French) version with republication in September of knee injuries in German.  The atemi article was recently republished in German version of European Aikido Journal.
  • Helped write bylaws/charters and test requirements for two organizations and participated on board of dirctors.  Test and instructional committee chair.

Training Highlights
  • Co-dojo cho of Memphis Aikikai, Memphis, Tennessee (May 1995) with Gary Chase Sensei. Together, he helped Gary affiliate Memphis Aikikai with World Headquarters Aikikai, Hombu Dojo through the Aikido Association of America in 1996. 
  • Has served as Aikido head instructor (dojo cho) at Ta Ch'U Academy of the Martial Arts, Heart of Texas Martial Arts Academy (Waco, TX), Aikido Club of Austin (YMCA, Austin, TX), Memphis Aikikai (Memphis, TN).
  • Successfully trained ten+ black belt candidates three of which are now sandan and another yondan. 
  • Attended 60 plus seminars over the years with many high ranking Aikido instructors, including: Kato, Saotome, Frager, Ikeda, Toyoda, Doran, Yamada, McGourik, Phong, Carlile, Strozzi-Heckler, Heiny, Toribio, and Sato, Varjan to name a few. Ongoing study through seminar participation, reading and studying video tapes and CDs of various master level instructors.
  • 2004-5:  participated in the development of the Shudokan Aikido Association and helped develop bylaws, test committees, and test requirements.
  • 2010:  helped set up and develop the unnamed Association after a Shudokan reorganization.  Former board of directors president and Technical Director for the organization of 5 Texas dojos.
  • Adjunct faculty Aikido, Midland College 2005 to present.

Other Martial Arts background: 
  • Tae Kwan Do (Moo Duk Kwan) under Bernard Franquez (1972/3) to green belt. Bernie is deceased.
  • Shotokan and Shudokan Karate while in the Air Force for a short time.
  • Kali Lua Do (stick fighting) under Norm Van Wye in Moreno Valley, CA to red belt (level III). 
  • Tai Chi Chuan in two different Tai Chi classes, one at a community center and another at UC Riverside (about 1994) under Harvey Kurland. 
  • Knife defense training 14 hours under Michael Blackgrave (2011)


Lan Powers Aikido 4th dan (yondan), fuku-shidoin

Lan is dojo-cho and senior assistant instructor at the dojo and serves as primary uke at demonstrations and seminars for Riggs sensei.  Lan is also the back up intructor for the dojo and periodically fills in for Riggs sensei at the dojo and college adult classes.  He rarely misses a training opportunity.  A short introduction to Karate in the early 70's led to a life-long interest in martial arts. Lan Studied the following arts briefly: Tae Kwon Do, (Yellow belt , with Fabian Nunez in Odessa, TX), Wing Tsun (unranked with David Lesser in Midland, TX). He is a competitive fencer and was a certified instructor in Foil from the United States Fencing Association, practicing at LaBelle Fencing Club.. Lan has also formerly enjoyed heavy armored combat with the Society for Creative Anachronism. Lan was the first student to achieve black belt while having studied only under Riggs Sensei.  Lan is also our first black belt under Kato Sensei.   

Ranks:  Yondan (11/2015 Frager)  Sandan (2010 Kato) Nidan (8/20/07-Kato), Shodan (8/5/05-Kato).  

John Couch, Aikido 3rd dan (sandan), fuku-shidoin:

John is a dojo senior instructor (fuku-shidoin) and taught the children class.  He is a school teacher.  He holds the rank of (3rd degree black belt) Sandan which he successfully tested for  3/7/2010 under Hiroshi Kato, shihan..

John started his Aikido training in Midland, Texas.  He formerly held the assistant status of Jyoshu awarded by AAA. Mr. Couch also studied Tae Kwon Do to the rank of blue belt through the USTF. John is a school teacher.

Aikikai Membership No. 181813, IAF Registration 54759

Ranks:  Sandan (5/15/10-Kato), Nidan (1/20/2007-Kato), Shodan (11/5/04-Sato)


Aikido of Carthage (closed)-Dojo Cho
Derren Hill Aikido 2nd dan (nidan)-fuku-shidoin

Derren started the Aikido of Carthage club in Carthage TX in 2006. The trains under the direction Dr. Riggs. Classes are held in Carthage. Derren has trained under Riggs sensei since 2003 through Aikido of Midland and has attended several seminars with Kato Sensei.

Ranks Nidan (11/8/10 tested), Shodan (1/20/08).  Rank with Kato Sensei.


Michael Cervantes, Aikido 2nd dan (nidan), fuku-shidoin:

Michael Cervantes holds the rank of 2nd degree black belt (nidan) in Aikido. He was a certified assistant instructor (fuku-shidoin) through the Aikido Association of America and assists teaching Aikido. He started his study of Aikido under Shihan Frank Doran at Stanford University in California. Michael is a geologist. Michael has also studied Kenpo karate and Tai Chi in the past.  Michael recently moved to Oklahoma and is training while looking for the right dojo.

Ranks:   Nidan (1/25/05-Sato), Shodan (10/11/03-Sato)

  • Randy Shupe, shodan (inactive).  Former dojo-cho of Aikido of San Angelo.
  • Corey Madrid, shodan (inactive).  Holds dan rank in TaeKwonDo.

  • Sammy Contreras.  ikkyu (brown belt/black stripe)
  • Jason Valenzuela.   ikkyo (brown belt/black stripe)
  • Vinh Nuygen ikkyo (brown belt/black stripe)
  • Efrain Negron.  nikyu (brown belt)