Colin Max Roach

Director, Mountain Wind Aikikai


Roach Sensei is one of the trustees and teachers for Aikido Mountain West and is the director and head instructor of Mountain Wind Aikikai. His background in Japanese arts, language, and culture extends back to early childhood. His father grew up in Japan with his uncle and several close friends. With his uncles shouting boisterously in Japanese, over a homemade sushi dinner, he heard tales of his father's wild times in Tokyo. In this way, Roach Sensei developed an affinity for the language and culture of Japan.

Roach Sensei pursued his passion for things Japanese by studying Judo in 1989, and 1990. Since his beginnings in Japanese Budo, Roach Sensei has traveled all over the country to study Japanese martial arts. He also began Japanese language classes as a freshman in high school. He was also able to study Asian History.

He worked diligently and earned the highly honored Sterling Scholarship Award, which afforded him full scholarship at all major Utah colleges. He chose to attend Westminster College of Salt Lake City. Although he did continue some studies of Japanese language, Roach Sensei focused primarily on his teaching degree. It was during his studies in college that he began to train in Aikido (1998). All the while, Roach Sensei continued to train regularly in Iaido, often traveling for hours to receive instruction.

Shortly after joining the Utah Aikikai, Roach Sensei began to receive requests for instruction in Iaido. He officially formed the Mountain Wind Dojo in 2001. He teaches both Iaido and Aikido and has earned many distinctions in those arts. His strict adherence to formal etiquette and easy-going nature make him a unique teacher among traditional budoka.

Roach Sensei now teaches to preserve Iaido as taught by his two main influences, Yamaguchi Katsuo Sensei, Meijin 10th Dan, and Ochiai Tadao Sensei, Hanshi 10th Dan. These two top-level Japanese instructors perform the kata in a distinctive way. These slight differences may reflect historical and geographically influenced factions linked with the line of their instructors' lineage.

Roach Sensei was honored to serve Ochiai Sensei directly in helping him translate and demonstrate during his instruction at his last seminar in the U.S.A.

Roach Sensei worked as a elementary school teacher in the Salt Lake City School District for six years. In addition to teaching First Grade and Aikido at the collegiate level, Roach Sensei has also developed and implemented an Aikido curriculum for children within the Salt Lake City School District. The program was successfully implemented in SLCSD's Open Classroom Program. There children learn about ethical conflict resolution, bullying prevention strategies, escape techniques, simple joint manipulations, and pins. A school teacher himself, Roach Sensei sees Aikido as a profound and much needed means of teaching children self-control, discipline, and conflict resolution that does not harm or demean the attacker. Teaching children to express themselves with compassion while acting with integrity and self control is Roach Sensei's goal when he works with kids.

Professionally, the Salt Lake City School District deemed Roach Sensei's study and development of Aikido programs to be equivalent to 20 semester hours of post-graduate level course-work and adjusted his salary accordingly. He was very, very appreciative that his employers valued his participation in traditional Japanese budo.

In the Spring of 2006, Roach Sensei accepted a teaching position at Wasatch Academy, the boarding school that he attended as a student. He served there as the Director of the Schools Attuned Program, a system of maximizing student success based on the development of neurodevelopmental profiles and the implementation of individually appropriate learning approaches. Then in 2011 he accepted a leadership position as Director of the Upper School at Darlington School in Rome, GA. Next (in 2014) Roach Sensei took on the role of headmaster of the Jackson Hole Community School (JHCS) in Salt Lake City, UT. He is currently serving as the headmaster at Rivermont Collegiate om Bettemdprf, IA.

Roach Sensei is also available for private seminars and lessons. He often travels to martial arts schools outside of the area to teach principles of traditional Japanese swordsmanship, the etiquette involved when handling a Japanese sword, lecture on the evolution of Japanese swordsmanship, and Iaido's role in cultural preservation. He also teaches Aikido outside of the dojo and is willing to travel to do so. Aikido seminars sometimes focus on a single element of Aikido such as ukemi, the art of “receiving a technique safely” or larger focus areas such as Aikido kihon, or “basics.” He often custom-tailors a seminar to suit the needs of the person, group or school in which he is guest instructing.

Click here to contact Roach Sensei about hosting him for a seminar.

Despite his accomplishments in Martial Arts, Roach Sensei is first and foremost the proud husband to Alethea and father to Aidan, Porter, Charlie, and Henry. His family is his highest distinction. For updates check out the Roach Family Blog.


  • 7th Dan Iaido, (Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu)

  • 4th Dan Aikido Shidoin

  • Chief Instructor, Mountain Wind Aikikai

  • M.Ed. Educational Management and Innovation

  • Peabody Fellow of Independent School Leadership, Vanderbilt University


    • Japanese Swords: Cultural Icons of a Nation., Tuttle Publications 2010.

    • Pursuing the Martial Arts, article in the Deseret News

    • Katsujin Ken, The Sword of Compassion, article in the Shudokan Budokai Journal

    • Why Do Wise Old Men Whittle Sticks? , Rokyo Times, the Sixth Teaching

    • Iaido and Self-Actualization, the Interconnectedness of Self and No-Self, Shudokan Budokai Journal

    • The Mountain Wind Aikikai and the art of Traditional Japanese Swordsmanship, article in the Shudokan Budokai Journal

    • Introducing The Japanese Sword, Andon Journal - The Society for Japanese Arts

Iaido/Judo Teachers and Technical Advisors

Ochiai Tadao Sensei

    • Hanshi 10th Dan Iaido (Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu)

Iwasa Hidetoshi Sensei

    • Kyoshi 8th Dan Iaido (Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu)

    • Renshi 6th Dan kendo

Andrej Diamanstein Sensei

    • Kyoshi 7th Dan Iaido (Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu)

Nicklaus Suino Sensei

    • 6th Dan Iaido (Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu), granted by the Soke in the Eishin-Ryu Traditions Association

    • Renshi, 5th Dan Iaido (Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu)

    • Shihan, 7th Dan Iaido (Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu) Shudokan Budokai

    • Shihan, 6th Dan Judo (Kodokan) Shudokan Budokai

    • Fuku-Shihan 4th Dan jujutsu, Shudokan Budokai

    • Renshi, 4th Dan jujutsu

    • Shudokan Budokai, Iaido and Judo Division Director

    • Publications:

      • Art Of Japanese Swordsmanship

      • Practice Drills for Japanese Swordsmanship

      • Arts of Strength, Arts of Serenity

      • Budo Mind and Body: Training Secrets of the Japanese Martial Arts

Bob Ward Sensei

    • Kyoshi 6th Dan karatedo (Wado-Ryu)

    • Renshi, 5th Dan Iaido (Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu)

    • 4th Dan Kobudo (Shinto Muso-Ryu jodo)

Mike Cimino-Hurt Sensei

    • 4th Dan Karatedo, Wado-Ryu (awarded by Suzuki Tatsuo Sensei - Hanshi, 8th Dan)

    • Board of Directors Member, Wado International Karatedo Federation USA

    • 3rd Dan Iaido (Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu)

Aikido Teachers and Technical Advisors

Frank Doran Sensei

    • Hanshi 7th Dan (Aikido)

    • >Head Instructor of Aikido West Dojo for over 28 years

    • Chief Aikido Instructor, Stanford University

    • President, California Aikido Association, Aikikai/ Honbu Dojo affiliate

Cyndy Hayashi Sensei

    • 7th Dan Aikido (Aikikai)

    • Dai Sempai of Aikido West in Redwood City, CA

    • California Aikido Association Administrator, 18 years

    • 3rd Dan Kyudo

Pat Hendricks Sensei

    • 6th Dan Aikido

    • Californai Aikido Association Division Head, Division 1

    • Dojo Cho, Aikido of San Leandro

Danielle Smith Sensei

    • 6th Dan Aikido

    • President, California Aikido Association

    • Dojo Cho, Aikido of Monterey

Michael Smith Sensei

    • 5th Dan Aikido

    • Dai Sempai, Aikido of Monterey

Michael Freidl Sensei

    • 6th Dan Aikido

    • Chief Instructor, Aikido of Ashland

    • Publications:

    • Meditation in Motion, A Solo Aikido Practice

    • Ah… To Be a Kid, Three dozen Aikido Games