Instructors Aikido

Aikido Faculty

Christopher Crandall, Shidoin - Chief Instructor


Christopher Crandall, 5th Dan, Shidoin

Chief Instructor and Dojo Cho, Raleigh Aikikai

Mr. Crandall is the owner and chief instructor of Raleigh Aikikai. He began his Aikido training in 1989 under the guidance and direction of the late M. Kanai, 8th Dan, Shihan (1939-2004) and is a Shidoin (certified senior instructor) as recognized by the United States Aikido Federation. In addition to his duties as Chief Instructor at Raleigh Aikikai, Mr. Crandall periodically teaches seminars and classes at dojos throughout the United States and Latin America. Mr. Crandall has over 10,000 hours of teaching & training experience in art of Aikido and is one of the senior instructors in the state of North Carolina. He also continues further his knowledge of Aikido by receiving additional instruction at seminars throughout the US and abroad from some of the world's top Shihan (master instructors): Y. Yamada, 8th Dan, Shihan (President, Untied States Aikido Federation), C. Berthiaume, 7th Dan, Shihan, D. Waite, 7th Dan, Shihan, P. Bernath, 7th Dan, Shihan, and D. Halprin, 7th dan, Shihan as well as other notable instructors. Mr. Crandall has been the chief instructor of Raleigh Aikikai since its inception in 1996.

Luis Cataldi, Shidoin

4th Dan, Shidoin - Aikido
Aikido Program Senior Instructor

Luis relocated to Raleigh in 2014 and currently teaches and trains at Raleigh Aikikai (full bio coming soon)

C. Barry Benjamin, Fukushidoin

4th Dan
Aikido Program Visiting Instructor
Chief Instructor and dojo Cho, Aikido of Southwest Florida

Barry began his aikido training in 1997 in Long Island, New York. In January of 2007 Barry relocated to Raleigh and continued his training at Raleigh Aikikai. During 2009-2010 Barry studied as an uchi-deshi (live-in student) of Donovan Waite, 7th Dan, Shihan. Though Barry still considers Raleigh Aikikai his 'home dojo', he currently resides in Cape Coral, Florida where he is the owner and chief instructor of Aikido of Southwest Florida. Periodically, Barry returns to the Raleigh area to teach and train at Raleigh Aikikai.

Luis Carrasco, Ph.D, Fukushidoin

3rd Dan - Aikido, 2nd Dan - Iaido
Aikido Program Senior Instructor, Chief Iaido Instructor Emeritus

Luis started his martial arts training in 1986 in Lima, Peru. He practiced Siu-Lan (Shaolin) Kung-Fu and added Aikido to his practice in 1990, when he joined the Aikido Dojo at the “Centro Cultural Peruano Japones” in Lima. He received his 1st Dan in 1994. In 1998, he joined the Aikido Dojo of the “Asociacion del Colegio La Union” in Lima. During that time and before moving to the United States, Luis cross-trained with practitioners of different martial styles. From 2000-2004 he practiced at the Aikido Club at NC State University, at which he also was chief instructor. Luis joined Raleigh Aikikai in 2002 and received his 3rd Dan in 2013. He is currently one of the adult program instructors at Raleigh Aikikai.

Adam Holley, Ph.D

3rd Dan
Aikido Program Instructor

Adam is currently conducting post-doctoral studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.

Stephen Beck

2nd Dan
Aikido Program Instructor

Michael Carnes, M.S., Fukushidoin

2nd Dan, Fukushidoin
Aikido Program Instructor
Dojo Cho, NC State Aikido Club

Rafael DesMoya

2nd Dan
Aikido Program Instructor

Rafael "Rafe" relocated to the Raleigh area in 2015 and currently teaches and trains at Raleigh Aikikai (full bio coming soon)

Ralph Craig, M.S., Fukushidoin

2nd Dan
Aikido Program Visiting Instructor

Ralph is one of the founding members of Raleigh Aikikai and currently resides in Utica, New York where he teaches Mathematics at Utica College as well as regularly teaches Aikido at Mohawk Valley Aikido. Periodically, Ralph returns to the Raleigh area and will often guest instruct at Raleigh Aikikai.

Ilia Baldine, Ph.D

2nd Dan
Aikido Program Instructor

Ilia began training in Aikido in 1994 at the NC State University Aikido Club. In 1996, Ilia, along with 2 other students and Sensei Crandall, opened Raleigh Aikikai in 1996. Ilia continues to train and teach at Raleigh Aikikai.

Can Ulker, Ph.D

2nd Dan
Aikido Program Visiting Instructor

Formerly one of our adult program instructors, Can has since returned to his native country of Turkey where he teaches civil engineering at the technical university. He currently runs a local aikido club in Turkey where he is the chief instructor. Periodically, Can returns to the USA to train and teach at Raleigh Aikikai.

Jennifer Caudle

1st Dan
Aikido Program Visiting Instructor

Jennifer began her aikido training at the NC State Aikido Club while in college. After graduation, she continued her training at Raleigh Aikikai where she became the first woman at Raleigh Aikikai to obtain the rank of Shodan. She has since relocated to Bloomington, IN and returns to teach and train periodically.

Bob Nevins

1st Dan
Aikido Program Instructor

Assistant Instructors

In addition to our instructional staff, Raleigh Aikikai also has several assistant instructors who help out with instruction during class. They also receive guidance on how to teach from our instructional staff to be better prepared for the time when which they themselves become instructors.


Evan Price, 1st Kyu
Robert Gutierrez, 1st Dan
(Robert is currently on work assignment in Minneapolis, MN)
Stephen Flannelly, Ph.D, 2nd Kyu