Mike Donnelly Sensei (RIP)
Attorney and aikido practitioner
Michael Donnelly Sensei's interest in Japanese culture began with his exposure to the art of aikido at the New Jersey School of Aikido in 1976, while in the U.S. Navy. He was a fourth-degree black belt in aikido, affiliated with the Shudokan Martial Arts Association. In addition, Mr. Donnelly was an SMAA Senior Advisor.
Donnelly Sensei, while primarily interested in budo ("martial ways") in Japanese culture, was also interested in the history of medical ethics in China and Japan and their legal and philosophical interactions with Western medical ethical models and practice. He expanded his martial arts background to include dabbling in Tai Chi Chuan and Arnis.
Mr. Donnelly lived in New Hampshire with his wife Jayne. He worked as a New Hampshire attorney and, in many hospitals in multiple states, as an ASCP certified pathologists' assistant. While not the legal counsel for the SMAA, he served as our unofficial legal advisor.
On July 20, 2012 Michael Donnelly passed away suddenly from heart-related issues. He was 61 years old.
Donnelly Sensei was one of the first people to join the SMAA. He actually paid for our newsletters and partially funded the SMAA for the first couple years of its existence. He also hosted the first SMAA Seminar, bringing the late Walter Todd Sensei to his dojo to teach aikido.
He helped with the design of the SMAA logo and patch as well. And at one point, he was the General Manager for the SMAA. Donnelly Sensei did all of this for free.
Eventually health problems made it difficult for him to teach aikido, but he remained passionately devoted to the SMAA and budo. Even after his dojo closed, he encouraged his students to remain in the SMAA, and several of them are SMAA members to this day.
Not every SMAA member knew Donnelly Sensei personally, but all of us have benefited from his contributions to the SMAA. He will be missed and remembered.