In 2014 Derek and his wife Diana came to Chugiak with the goal of bringing regular Aikido practice to Eagle River and the surrounding communities. The opening of Aikido Borealis dojo in the fall of 2015 was the culmination of that effort.

Derek Hedstrom began his Aikido training in 1997 at Aikido North in Anchorage Alaska. He received his present rank of 4th Degree Black Belt in 2022. With over 20 years of experience teaching both junior and adult classes, Derek enjoys sharing the joys and frustrations of training with students of all ages in a safe, open and welcoming atmosphere. Despite his instructor role, Derek considers himself primarily a student and continues to attend several seminars a year, featuring top instructors around the United States.

Diana Hedstrom began training at Aikido North in 1998 and made 3rd Degree Black Belt in 2023. A retired certified high school counselor and teacher of 25 years, Diana brings her experience and love of teaching to her classes at Aikido Borealis and always strives to make Aikido be a safe, nurturing and unconditionally positive environment for growth.