Martial Arts Director

Tesfaye Tekelu is the Martial Arts Director at Destiny Arts Center, where he teaches Aikido and other forms of Martial Arts as well as gymnastics and dance. Originally from Ethiopia, Tesfaye has been with Destiny since 2016.

Tesfaye believes that the study of Martial Arts encourages young people to improve their self-confidence, learn important values, develop healthy habits and improve their ability to focus and persevere.

Prior to moving to the Bay Area in 2015, Tes taught martial arts and offered trainings in non-violent communication in New York City schools. While in New York he also served as Peace and Culture Director for the arts-based peace education organization Kids Creative. In addition to his work at Destiny, Tes is Chairman of the Board and Co-founder of Institute for Social Advancement (ISA) which endeavors to advance youth empowerment and entrepreneurship, conflict-resolution and peace-building, education, gender equality and HIV awareness in both the United States and Sub-saharan Africa. Tes is also responsible for introducing the discipline of Aikido in East Africa.

Tesfaye currently holds a 3rd degree black belt in Aikido and has training in other martial art forms. He was awarded the State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition in honor of his work by Senator Mark Leno. A teacher-trainee at Strozzi Institute, Tesfaye is always learning and always creating—in his free time, he writes and produces music in the United States and Ethiopia.