Shihan Alexander Rusinko has been instructing Aikido since 1964. He has been an instructor for and/or an affiliate with Hombu Aikido, Aikido Association of America, and KI Society Aikido and Hiriki Aikido. Since 1984 he has served as Executive Director of the Hiriki Aikido Association.
Shihan Rusinko was the youngest Aikido Shodan (Black Belt) in the United States and is one of only a few first-generation American black belts instructing in the United States now. As a young man he studied with almost every leading aikidoka in the world. He was the first Aikido Otomo Deshi (Personal attendant of the master) within the United States. He was the first American apprentice to serve as Otomo Deshi to Shihan Yoshimitsu Yamada, now President of the United States Aikido Federation.
Shihan Rusinko also served as Otomo Deshi to Shihan Koichi Tohei, who was at that time the only tenth degree Shihan, on his tour of the United States mainland. To our knowledge this was another first for Shihan Rusinko.
Tohei Shihan went on to become founder of the KI Society. To these great men goes Shihan Rusinko’s eternal gratitude for their guidance and teachings.
Rusinko holds closest to his heart his first black belt certificate. His Shodan certificate was certified by O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of the original Aikido from which Hiriki and all other Aikido styles derive. For this and for his vision of the Art of Peace, Shihan Rusinko is forever grateful to O Sensei Ueshiba.
Shihan Rusinko’s quest has been to further the development and improvement of Aikido itself. His unceasing decades of work in the martial arts have brought into being a martial science and classical Aikido system dedicated to preserving the war-time Aikido techniques of Morihei Ueshiba. By using economy of motion in techniques and by explaining and teaching the use of Ki energy, Rusinko has preserved and added to those techniques. The goal: to adapt the martial science of Aikido for a modern world. The result: the system of Hiriki Classical Aikido.
Hiriki Aikido was developed by an occidental, a westerner. It is the first American style of Aikido to be internationally recognized. Constantly developing, it has not become stagnant as some Aikido styles have. Rather it flows with the power and grace that O Sensei Ueshiba originally intended. Shihan Rusinko had the honor, as invited guest, of demonstrating Hiriki Aikido at the twenty-fifth anniversary international celebration of Yukio Utada Shihan in Philadelphia. Guest of Honor was Kyoichi Inoue Shihan, at that time the Dojo Cho of the Yoshinkan Aikido Association. The gathering included many of the major Yoshinkan Aikido Shihan from around the world.
Shihan Rusinko was honored to be inducted into the World Karate Hall of Fame as the Most Distinguished Martial Artist in 1996.
Shihan Rusinko was also honored as a Lifetime Member in the Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo Karate Organization. In keeping with his mission to further the Art of Peace, Shihan Rusinko co-founded the annual Aikido Friendship Seminars held in the Delaware Valley Tri-State area of the eastern United States. Here all styles of Aikido come together to share expertise and fellowship.
Shihan Rusinko was, to our knowledge, the only civilian in New Jersey certified as a police and corrections officer instructor. He retired after giving his time for more than thirteen years. Rusinko served as Defensive Tactics Chief Instructor at the Corrections Officers Training Academy for the Department of Corrections, State of New Jersey. He was In-Service Instructor at the Cape May County Police Academy and Chief Defensive Tactics Instructor at the Gloucester County Police Academy. Within the United States, Alex Rusinko has been one of the driving forces for improving Law Enforcement training with the use of Aikido.
Shihan Rusinko teaches and lectures nationwide on his system of Police Defensive Tactics known as H.A.L.T. (Hiriki Aikido Law-Personnel Training). As Chief Defensive Tactics Instructor he has been invited to share his expertise at law enforcement and corrections academies throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Vermont.
Shihan Rusinko has instructed Federal law enforcement personnel in defensive tactics and mechanical restraints. He has trained agents of the FBI, INS, and DEA; special operations personnel including Ranger, Force Recon, and SWAT; U.S. Marshals; and S.O.G and S.O.R.T. Corrections personnel.
Sensei Rusinko is articulate in American Sign Language (ASL). Hiriki Aikido’s Hombu Dojo, the Aikido Arts Institute of New Jersey, offers Aikido instruction to Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons using ASL. The Hombu Dojo’s Special Needs programs continue to evolve with focus on Asperger children and injured and limited mobility adults.
Shihan Rusinko has created a program on preventing dating violence and date rape. He is a recognized and respected lecturer on the subject. Shihan Rusinko is also a well-known speaker on the use of conflict resolution and Aikido. He has the distinction of being one of the few men allowed to visit battered women's shelters in confidential locations to instruct the victims of abuse in self-defense and self-esteem enhancing techniques.
Shihan Rusinko is a guest instructor in personal development workshops. His approach to instructing bio-electro-magnetic energy makes it easy for non-martial artists to feel and improve their internal energy. This is important for people in recovery programs working through addictive or destructive behaviors.
Known for his knowledge of Oriental Healing and Holistic Medicine, Shihan Rusinko has instructed college level courses in Hiriki Oriental Healing Techniques. He is an innovator of meditation techniques and is sought after for instruction in the stress relieving methods used in Hiriki Aikido. He has authored articles in the Healing News. He is also a certified Instructor of Reiki.
Shihan Rusinko holds an honorary Doctorate in Religious Philosophy.
Even as a young man Shihan Rusinko found applications for his Aikido training. He was co-captain of his high school wrestling team and became a gold medal winner in the district wrestling champion. He also placed second in the N.C.A.A. Christmas tournament for his weight class.
Shihan Rusinko remains an active author in the world of Aikido. His publications, books, and videos comprise a series of learning tools: the Hiriki Aikido Handbook for beginners; Mixed Martial Aikido; three substantial volumes of Whispers from the Master: Secrets of Aikido; and instructional videos in Hiriki Aikido advanced techniques, advanced Aikido philosophy, Hiriki Aikido weapons instruction, and the Aikido healing arts. DVDs of selected Hiriki Aikido Seminars and Workshops are available.
Outside Aikido, Shihan Rusinko is a published author in the automotive rebuilding community. He was an innovator of production principles for the Import Electrical Rebuilding Community, a nominee for Rebuilder of the Year, and for many years a contributing editor for Automotive Rebuilder Magazine.