Benjamin Pincus, 6th Dan

Pincus Sensei brings over 30 years of aikido experience to his classes. He studied under several direct students of O Sensei, beginning with the late M. Kanai Sensei (8th degree black belt) in 1982. During his undergraduate years studying philosophy, he apprenticed with the late Paul Sylvain Sensei (6th degree) and Y. Yamada Sensei (8th degree), Chairman of the United States Aikido Federation, Eastern Region. At New York Aikikai, he also studied under the late Seichi Sugano Sensei (8th degree) and became a student of Donovan Waite Sensei (7th degree). Seeking to deepen his understanding of Aikido after deciding to become an Aikido teacher, he studied in San Diego with K. Chiba Sensei (8th degree) in a kenshusei (intensive instructor’s training) program.

He founded Aikido of Champlain Valley (ACV) in 1997 as a federal 501(c)3 educational organization, in Burlington, Vermont where he is also currently the Chief Instructor.

Pincus Sensei presently holds the rank of rokudan (6th degree black belt)  with the International Aikido Federation in Tokyo, Japan, and is a certified instructor (shidoin) and member in good standing of Birankai North America.  He is also sandan (3rd degree) in Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido which he began studying under Paul Sylvain Shihan.

Heidi Albright, 6th Dan

Albright Sensei started aikido in 1993 under Arnie Dinowitz Sensei and Liz Dinowitz Sensei.  She began her intensive study of aikido with Benjamin Pincus Sensei at in 1997 when Aikido of Champlain Valley opened at its original location in Winooski, VT, and graduated from the soto-deshi program in 2007.

She was awarded the rank of rokudan in 2024 from the International Aikido Federation in Tokyo, Japan, and is a certified instructor (shidoin) and member in good standing of Birankai North America.

She and Pincus Sensei are the co-instructors at Cloud Mountain Living Arts and Aikido, a country dojo in central Vermont.

In addition to being a student and instructor of aikido, she holds a M.S. in Biology, works as an artist, craftsperson and farmer. She and Benjamin are raising two boys. In her spare time she enjoys riding and driving her horses.

“When we practice aikido, we must keep our center and harmonize with another human being in a particular moment, a moment that can change in unexpected ways.  We contain lightness and incredible weight, depending on our approach to working with others and the circumstances.

I believe deep understanding comes from studying ukemi through kokyu connection. I encourage students to cultivate sensitivity in your hands and hearts as an integral part of learning aikido.  If you improve your connection, you will improve your ukemi. As your ukemi improves, so too will your technique.”