Damon Apodaca Shihan is the Chief Instructor and founder of Santa Fe Budokan. A practitioner of over 46 years, he is ranked as 6th Degree Black Belt (Rokudan) by the Aikido World Federation, Hombu Dojo. He is certified Shihan by United State Aikido Federation and holds various levels of instructor certification from Morihiro Saito, Shihan (Iwama Dojo, Japan) for Aikiken and Aikijo, (weapons styles that O-Sensei taught to accompany Taijutsu (body-art) training). Apodaca Shihan spent his formative years of study with Masahilo Nakazono Shihan in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He later moved to San Diego where he spent 6 years of study under T.K. Chiba Shihan, the Chief Instructor of San Diego Aikikai, and director of Birankai International. He has been a head instructor (dojo-cho) in several dojos over the last 27 years including Newport Aikikai in Newport Rhode Island and Zenshinkan Dojo in Worchester Mass. All of Apodaca Shihan's teachers were direct students of the founder. Apodaca Sensei started his practice of Iaido under the direction of Chiba Shihan, later continuing to practice under Hanshi Masayuki Shimabukuro and So-Shihan Carl Long. Apodaca Shihan holds the rank of Nidan in the KNBK and DNBK (Dai Nippon Budokukai). In January 2021 Aikido World Headquarters awarded Apodaca Sensei the title of Shihan. His commitment to the art allows for serious practice in a safe, empowering, and traditional environment.