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Our Team

Head Instructor: Derek Bindner, 6th Dan

Derek Bindner is the CEO (Chief Encouraging Officer), founder, and head instructor of Bindner Academy. 

Derek Bindner is a multiple, certified black belt instructor, leadership coach and trainer, specializing in conflict navigation. Many of his life experiences come from working as a former executive and close protection specialist, a 12 year veteran doorperson, and a lifetime martial arts practitioner and competitor. Derek has trained and taught in Japan, the United States, and here at home in Canada, since 1997. He has a way of making people feel at ease, and clearly conveys profound perspectives in every class, seminar and presentation that he leads.

Derek’s latest projects include organizing and up-dating the Fusion Ju-jitsu program to stay current and relevant, and writing a book on leadership. He is passionate about how integrating practical techniques and strategies of ancient and new, with mindset, and resilience training, make a deep impact on the live’s of those he, and his team serves.

Derek resides in the London area with his wife and two daughters, and enjoys practicing yoga, playing music and spending time with his family.

  • Black Belt – Fusion Ju-jitsu (creator)
  • Black Belt – Ju-Jitsu (6th dan, Goshin-Ryu)
  • Black Belt – Aikido (5th dan, Yoshinkan)
  • Black Belt – Tae Kwon Do (ITF)
  • Brown Belt – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (candidate)
  • Brown Belt – Karate (Goju Ryu) 
  • Brown Belt – Karate (Shorin Ryu)
  • Bronze Medalist – Kickboxing (1991)
  • Defensive Tactics Instructor – (LPI, 1997-1999)
  • Mental Toughness Coach – (UMA Foundations, 2017)

A nationally known and respected teacher, Derek Bindner is a frequent guest instructor at training seminars throughout Ontario, Quebec and San Diego, California.  As lead instructor, assisted by a talented staff of instructors, in two locations, he teaches regularly at the Bindner Academy headquarters in Hyde Park.

Besides teaching regular on-going weekly classes, Derek also gives interactive presentations, workshops and seminars to organizations and teams on leading through adversity and conflict.

He thinks of his work as play. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, he is supercharged by helping others win in life.


Black Belt Instructors


Sempai Christopher Clattenburg, 3rd Dan

Christopher has been studying Aikido since 2001, and holds a B.A. from Ryerson University,  and a B.Ed. from York University. He currently teaches aikido at the Bindner Academy headquarters in Hyde Park.





Sempai Dr. David Vollick, 3rd Dan

David has been studying Aikido and Jiu-jitsu under Sensei Bindner since 2005. David holds a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology. He is semi-retired and teaches at Western University, and helps a colleague conduct psychological/vocational assessments, both on a part-time bases. His hobbies include research, reading, playing tennis and hockey, jogging, weight lifting, and archery.






Sempai Teresa MacDonald, 2nd Dan

Sempai Teresa (B.A, Western University) successfully completed a Women’s Self-Defense course at the Bindner Academy in 2001. This achievement provided the motivation to begin private and group training in Jiu-jitsu and Aikido. In 2003, Teresa earned her green belt in Jiu-Jitsu, and in 2005, received her Black Belt in Yoshinkan Aikido. She teaches adults and children at headquarters dojo and continues to train in Aikido. Her hobbies include origami (Japanese paper-folding), reading, and fitness walks.




Sempai, Dr. Marty Bezaire, 1st Dan

Marty has been studying martial arts since 1994, and Aikido and Jiu-jitsu under Sensei Bindner since 2010. He has previously worked as a kinesiologist and personal trainer. Currently he works as a local physician, trained at Western University, who has a split practice in family medicine as well as in community emergency medicine. He has a passion for trying and sharing new foods, enjoys hiking, music, and sharing his interests with his family and friends.




Sempai John Suderman, 1st Dan

John started his Aikido journey in 2013, and Jiu-Jitsu training in 2019. He initially began his lessons in the family class with his two sons. John currently helps in the kids class were he enjoys seeing the kids progress and reach new levels of focus and confidence.  John’s other activities include drawing, meditation and metal art.










Sensei, Dr. Denis Gris, 1st Dan

Denis started studying Aikido under sensei Bindner in 2003, and moved to Sherbrooke in 2014 for work, and holds classes for children and adults.

Assistant Instructors




Sempai Mike Lozon, 1st Kyu

Mike has been studying Aikido since 2014 under sensei Bindner, and is an assistant instructor in the childrens classes, at the headquarters academy.




Sempai Nichola Thompson, 4th Kyu

Nichola began her Aikido journey with sensei Bindner in 2015, and assists with the kids kids program.










Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructors


Coach Tyler Crawford, Black Belt

Tyler’s involvement in combative sports started many (yes, MANY) years ago in freestyle wrestling. Through his involvement in wrestling he learned the importance of hard training and focus as determinants of success. His first experience in traditional martial arts was in Judo, followed soon after by Karate in which he earned his black belt. Tyler was drawn to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a self-defense method that allows the practitioner to neutralize physical threats without seriously injuring the attacker, and for the ability to train and practice at nearly-full intensity. After training and successfully competing in Jiu-Jitsu for several years (earning multiple gold and silver medals), he has become an enthusiastic advocate for the sport. Coach Tyler is very interested in helping people develop to their full potential in Jiu-Jitsu. His goal is to see others find a love for this great sport and discipline, just as he has.







Coach Derek Bindner, Brown Belt (candidate)

Derek started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 1994, and continues to train under the Dragan Alliance BJJ Team in Kitchener, Waterloo. In the fall of 2007, Derek had the distinct honour of opening the London and Middlesex region’s first official Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy. As well as teaching BJJ part time, Sensei Derek instructs the adult Fusion Ju-jitsu, Aikido, and kids Aikido and Ju-jitsu classes, and offers daytime private lessons.







Office Administrator

Teresa MacDonald

Teresa is our first impressions, and administration person that holds the academy together. She registers, directs and fits all of our new students with uniforms when they start their training.













Instructors, Coaches and Mentors to Derek Bindner


Jacques Payet

Technical Aikido Advisor

Aikido Yoshinkan 8th Dan, the head instructor of the Mugen Juku Dojo in Kyoto, Japan, and technical advisor of the Seishukan dojo in London, Ontario Canada, is Jacques Payet, 8th dan (8th degree black belt).

Payet Sensei has the unique distinction of being uchi-deshi (live-in apprentice) directly under the guidance of Shioda Sensei longer than any other Westerner. He was appointed staff instructor at the Yoshinkan Honbu dojo (world headquarters in Tokyo) and during that time he designed the Foreign Instructor course in 1991 and translated Aikido Shugyo the autobiography of Kancho Gozo Shioda.



Technical BJJ Advisor

Dragan Konjevic, 3rd degree black belt.

Head Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor of Dragan Alliance, Dragan started in the mid 90s, however before that he trained any other martial arts he could get his hands on such as; kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do, Judo and Sambo. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been his passion since 1996, where he has been the official representative for many years of Alliance BJJ Team. This allowed him to learn from some of the best grapplers on the planet such as; Marcelo Garcia, Charles Rubens Cobrina, and Fabio Gurgel as well as many others. 






Human Performance Coach

Commander Mark Divine, SEALfit and Unbeatable Mind Coach
Mark Divine is an expert in human performance as it is displayed in mental toughness, leadership and physical readiness. His work is based on an integral warrior-leader model that he developed and tested on over a thousand special operations candidates worldwide. The integrated training, which involves physical, mental, emotional, intuitional and spiritual training, has resulted in over a 90% success rate for the Spec Ops candidates. It is now taught to executives and corporate teams, tops sports teams, top athletes, professionals, first responders and warriors from all walks of life.

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