Galen David

Chief Instructor

Nidan, Fukushidoin


Galen founded East Lake Aikido in 2017.

He began Aikido in 2001, studying briefly at New York Aikikai before moving to Burlington, Vermont where he began training with his root teacher Ben Pincus Sensei, 6th dan (6th degree blackbelt), chief instructor at Aikido of Champlain Valley and Cloud Mountain Living Arts & Aikido.

Galen’s practice and teaching are also deeply informed by the two years he spent at Boulder Aikikai in Colorado training and studying with Tres Hofmeister Sensei, 7th dan, of Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (ASU). It was there that Galen was introduced by Tres to the Feldenkrais Method®, which led him to pursue and complete a training program in that discipline as well. 

From 2011-2018 Galen trained at the Twin Cities Aikido Center where he began teaching in 2013. He received his 2nd dan from Donovan Waite Shihan, 7th dan, of the United States Aikido Federation (USAF) in 2016.

He feels a deep gratitude to all of his teachers and generous sempai who continue to share their practice and teaching with him, enriching his own.

When not at the dojo—or the clinic where he works as a Psychotherapist and Feldenkrais Practitioner, Galen is learning about being a person from his children Alma and Sky, and his wife Hannah.



Sam Taitel



Sam officially began their training in 1999 at the age of 5 in the children's program at Aikido Centers of New Jersey. At 10 they moved to the adult classes under Greg O'Connor, alongside their mother, to continue practice as well as participate in many seminars in the tristate area. 

Most recently Sam was training at New York Aikikai, the United States Aikido Federation headquarters, under Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan, 8th dan, and many other wonderful instructors. During this time Sam took the opportunity to spend a year as a live-in student (uchideshi) to further expand their horizons and deepen their practice.

After over 7 years in New York City Sam decided to take another leap in life and move to Minneapolis with their partner, Jacob. Sam is grateful that East Lake Aikido has been so welcoming in this new city and is excited to learn more through both training and teaching. 

Every moment they step on the mat, after 20 years of training, is still a special one.