Archives for 2011

New Years Promotions

Dear USAF Community:

I hope this finds you all well and looking forward to the quickly approaching change of seasons. It is hard to believe that it is already time to consider promotions for the New Year.

Yamada Sensei has reviewed the list of instructors and we have contacted those who he is suggesting for promotion this coming New Year. I would like to remind the instructors that, if you have students in your dojo or any who may have their own dojo or club, it is your responsibility to submit their names if you feel they are qualified for a New Year’s promotion. Please keep in mind that in addition to the time requirement, we will also be reviewing the seminar attendance portion of all paperwork. The paperwork and fee for all promotions by recommendation for 5th dan and higher are due in the USAF office no later than November 1st. Promotions by recommendation for 4th dan and below can be submitted by December 15th for New Year’s consideration. Please remember that 5th dan and higher can only be submitted at this time of year, but 4th dan and below can be submitted throughout the year. All instructors should have access through their password and login to the USAF website to access the necessary forms.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely your,
Laura Pavlick
Director of Operations

Aikido Blues

I didn’t see it coming. I extended my arm to take a roll and my ankle started firing pain bullets at my petrified brain in the intensity of the Kalashnikov latest model. I felt a crack in my neck as it hit the mat, and gasped for air. My chest responded with an unnerving spasm. As the lungs expanded, I felt a sharp tingle in my back. Damn, it hurt!
A little disoriented, I quickly gathered my aching body and looked at my partner. “Oh my God! You tripped over my hakama,” she whispered covering her mouth with her small, freckled palm. “Are you okay?” she asked. I stood up. “Yeah, I’m fine,” I smiled to make the lie more convincing. I felt a wave of pain spreading throughout my body, but I was able to move. I could even finish the class. I wanted to believe everything was in perfect order. It took several hours to realize otherwise.

A sharp pain woke me at 3 a.m. As four green capsules of Advil were reassuringly dissolving in my stomach, I “googled” upper back muscles. The trouble was coming from my trapezius, a large muscle connecting my spine, shoulder and head. “Maybe it will go away by the time I have to get up,” I thought as I was finally falling back to sleep. But it didn’t. Big beads of sweat covered my forehead when I tried to practice the next day. I couldn’t lift my right arm for any of the techniques. Suddenly, it dawned on me. Perhaps, it was time to take a break… Wait a minute… How could a thought that ridiculous pop in my head?

I recalled a beautiful sunny day in May of 2007. I was going to the Columbia University Dodge Fitness Center for my daily swim, when I saw dozens of white paper sheets with the word “aikido” written on them in thick, black ink. The pages covered all nearby trees and buildings. Intrigued, I stopped at the gym. “Excuse me,” I said to a guy in a Hawaiian shirt who was watching strangely dressed people making counterintuitive moves. “Do you know what this is all about?” He explained aikido in one sentence, and I found myself twisted in what I later learned was shihonage. “I’m thinking of doing karate,” I said when he released me from his iron grip. “There is a major difference between aikido and karate,” the guy in the Hawaiian shirt looked intensively into my eyes. “Basically, in karate I could kill you right now. In aikido, why would I bother? By the way, my name is Rick, Rick Stickles.” He explained the event I was witnessing was a seminar by a famous teacher named Chiba Sensei. “Remember that,” Rick said. “You will think about it later, once you get settled into your practice.” He wrote something down on a piece of paper and handed it to me. “Here,” he said, “this is the address of the New York Aikikai. You will love it.”

I really did. For the first few months, I had goose bumps every time I walked into the dojo. The idea of learning something as foreign as martial arts excited and overwhelmed me. My inability to get any of the moves right, left me hungry for more. Some things appeared funny, like bowing to paper portraits of dead people or kneeling for a teacher seemed a little overboard. But I slowly began to embrace the beautiful, circular movement and understand its power and culture. I realized I was incredibly lucky to start my training at the New York Aikikai, with its accommodating training schedule and variety of excellent teachers. I wondered whether it would appear freakish if I came to practice every day. Then I just did it, anyway.

One day, I found myself explaining a technique to my partner, and, surprised, I realized I actually knew what I was doing. Some other day, a person asked me to start a group exercise, because I was the most senior around. “How did this happen?” I scratched my head.

I began to think of all the reasons I practiced aikido. Coming from the European country of Poland, I had nothing in common with Japanese culture, and no connection to the martial arts world, except for one time when I was six years old and a friend tried his Bruce Lee moves on me and broke my left arm. To gather some answers, I went to train for two weeks at the source, the Hombu dojo in Japan.

On my first day of training, after class, I was watching one of the Hombu dojo teachers, Yoshiaki Yokota, testing white belts. Suddenly, he jumped from seiza position, hitched his dark blue hakama and trotted across the bright canvas mat. The main training room was spacious, but it took Yokota Sensei just a blink of an eye to get from one end to the other, and reach me. He came so close that I could see every wrinkle on his weary face. My heart sank. Yokota Sensei opened his purple and otherwise quite beautiful lips, and started screaming his lungs out. I watched his round face turning bright red as he yelled in Japanese pointing his right index finger directly at me. Still screaming, he turned around to make sure other people in the room heard, and then he pointed at me one again. After a cavalcade of sounds I didn’t understand, Yokota sensei turned around and trotted back to his spot. He sat and continued examining kyu grade students as if nothing happened, as if my heart wasn’t shattered. One of Yokota Sensei’s assistants, Suzuki, turned towards me and whispered in imperfect English. “No sitting cross-legged. Sit in seiza. Now!”

I blinked in disbelief realizing my big offense, but I was grateful Suzuki spoke a language I could understand. Not many Japanese at the dojo shared this ability. It turned out to be a blessing. The only way for me to communicate with the majority of the Hombu dojo students was through the language of ikkyo, nikkyo and ukemi. Two weeks later, after many more classes and much nicer encounters, I went back to New York relieved. The Hombu dojo experience was extraordinary, but New York Aikikai was home. There was room for everyone, for every individual style and it didn’t matter where I kept my feet off the mat, as long as I put effort into everything I was doing on the mat. I realized I practiced aikido simply because it felt good. I liked the space between me and my partner, the touch, connection, and the flow. I enjoyed the energy. I noticed how aikido made me more compassionate, empowered and assertive. It sharpened my senses, intuition, and enhanced empathy. I liked how it allowed me to express myself to people who didn’t speak the same language.

But I was getting bored. Endless repetition of movements, meeting the same people at the same place every day, and talking about one thing predominantly, suddenly seemed very monotonous. It didn’t help that I hovered at the back of the training hall, away from the bad kids, who used to fascinate me. I didn’t allow myself to be challenged.

One day, I snapped at someone who threw me harder and didn’t seem to care. Another day, I resented a teacher whose techniques I thought wouldn’t work in reality. I fussed about smelly gi’s and dirty feet. I didn’t like how beginner male students were telling me what to do just because I was a girl with a white belt. I enjoyed training, but didn’t have as much fun as I used to when I first had started. I was still coming to the dojo every day, out of habit, but my initial excitement puffed into thin air. I wondered how this could have happened. Aikido felt like an old lover whom I was taking for granted… Then I hurt my back.

“From down dog, extend and lift your right leg and flip your belly towards the ceiling… yeah… that’s right,” a yoga teacher at the New York Sports Club was cruising between colorful mats adjusting stretched bodies. “Bravo,” she said reassuringly. “Now flip back.” All I could think about was “shut up!” I was two weeks into my one month break from aikido, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I swam, jogged and took yoga classes, but all of this just wasn’t doing it for me. In a cumulative effort to emerge myself in things different than aikido, I went to all the exhibits, plays and parties I could think of in the hours I would normally spend on the mat, and… nothing. My mind wandered to the silent training hall, the circular, repetitious movement, my friends and our endless discussions about one thing, predominantly. I counted days until I could step back on the mat. Once my feet hit it, I understood I just came through a natural learning cycle. I was curious about aikido again because I gave myself time and space to miss it. There was so much more to learn, and I was determined to be the best student I can.

Aleksandra Michalska
New York Aikikai

New Jersey USAF Instructors Hold Benefit For Japan

Many Mahalos (Hawaiian “thank yous”) to the organizers and artists of Kokua for Japan for inspiring a USAF New Jeresy Instructors Benefit Seminar for Japan on June 12, 2011!

Kokua for Japan was a benefit concert held in Honolulu back on April 10 to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross in the wake of Japan’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear crisis. The event featured such performers as Willie Nelson, Mick Fleetwood, Michael McDonald, Hawaiian born and raised Jack Johnson, ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro and many local Hawaiian artists.

While watching the live broadcast of the concert online that lazy Sunday evening, my wife and I discussed what a closely-knit community of Aikido dojo there are throughout New Jersey and wondered whether a successful benefit seminar could be pulled off featuring as many of NJ’s dojo cho as possible.

That week I sent an email out to all NJ chief instructors listed in the USAF dojo directory asking who’d be interested and if so, when available. Amazingly, almost everyone responded and pretty much unanimously settled on the date of June 12. Huge and deep gratitude to Rick Stickles, Skip Chapman, Eran Vardi, Karen DePaola, Jerry Zimmerman, Michael McNally, Alex Vieira, Sergio Cuevas and James Shaffer in joining me to help make the benefit seminar the great triumph it was! All instructors selflessly donated their time and talent to come together through shared practice for the common purpose of aiding in Japan’s recovery and renewal.

The seminar ran beautifully with classes straight through for 10 hours. We wanted to create the feel of a benefit concert or dance marathon and have all participants be responsible for their own breaks as well as feel free to come on and off the mat as needed. And of course food and refreshments were on hand throughout the day.

A big Domo Arigato-gozaimasu to the Aikikai Foundation at Hombu Dojo for extending for us the deadline for receiving donations so that via the USAF we could make our contribution from the seminar’s proceeds.

Also, thanks to Aikido of Red Bank’s Emmy Award-winning dojo cinematographer and photographer Kris Schoenleber for donating his services by taking video and stills all day, producing a great DVD, the proceeds of which we are continuing to send to the Japanese Red Cross as orders continue. To view the photos, please visit our facebook page. If you are interested in ordering a copy, you may do so by contacting Kris through his own website

Omedetou again to all the instructors involved for their efforts in spreading our own Aloha to our extended Japanese Family!

Island Aikido’s Japan Disaster Benefit Update

The Island Art Center held a benefit on May 21st to raise money to support the USAF’s Japan relief fund. The day focused on a seminar involving students and instructors from many visiting Dojo’s, training together for a good cause. Throughout the day, students from the various children’s programs came suited up to do their part, small but mighty. The children had collected sponsors in the weeks leading up to the event. Their sponsors pledged various amounts towards how many rolls the children could accomplish. 18 children (ages 5-11) did a total of 3,175 forward and back rolls adding to the total collected thus far of well over $1,200.00 More donations are still “rolling” in and we will keep the jar out through our annual student art show and demonstration. More updates and pictures from the potluck community event that capped off a wonderful day spent rocking and rolling for a cause will be posted on our site as we get them.

THANKS ONE AND ALL FOR THE SUPPORT AND COMMITMENT TO MAKING THIS EVENT SUCCESSFUL. We will hold other events throughout the year for this cause and keep you updated.

2011 USAF Summer Camp DVD Is Now Available

The 2011 Summer Camp DVD is now available for purchase. This DVD captures the teachings of Yamada Shihan and Osawa Shihan, the Technical Committee members, and the many shidoin who helped provide an average of 8 classes per day. From on the mat in the dojo, to weapons classes outside under the pavilion, the extraordinary flavor of this camp is now available for all to share.

If you ordered your copy during camp, your DVD should arrive shortly. If you missed the opportunity to do so, you can now order it online by visiting Aikido de La Montagne’s website.

A special thanks to the outstanding camerman, Luc Tremblay, and his team, and to Claude Berthiaume Shihan and Aikido de la Montagne who organized, supervised, and assisted on all levels to help make this happen.

A short preview can be viewed here.

USAF Fukushidoin

              USAF Certified Fukushidoin for 2020

(updated 12/2020)




Fukushidoin is an assistant teacher certification granted to those who have been a nidan for at least 1 year. The applicant must teach class on a regularly scheduled basis. They may test kyu ranks up to and including 1st Kyu.  FUKUSHIDOIN CERTIFICATION IS DOJO-SPECIFIC AND IS DETERMINED BY THE CHIEF INSTRUCTOR OF A DOJO.  THE CERTIFICATION DOES NOT TRAVEL WITH AN INDIVIDUAL IF THEY RELOCATE TO A NEW DOJO.

In order to apply for Fukushidoin, the applicant must be recommended by either a Fukushidoin, Shidoin or Shihan. The purpose of this title is to grant the Chief Instructor of a dojo the ability to test his or her own students and therefore to promote growth within the dojo. It is not a reward, given solely on the basis of rank, and will not be granted for that purpose. This teaching certification will be awarded only on an as needed basis. The status of all applying and renewing Fukushidoin is subject to review by the Technical Committee.

In order to maintain certification, Fukushidoin must attend one major seminar each year and attend the class for instructors that may be offered at that seminar. In addition, they must attend a second seminar taught by a member of the Technical Committee in the same calendar year as well as be an active USAF member in good standing of a USAF dojo in good standing.


  • Reynaldo Abreu, Miami Aikikai
  • Jerry Akel, Aikido Center of Jacksonville
  • Joao Alcantara, Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Peter L. Aldrich, Bermuda Aikikai
  • Crystal N. Aldrich, Aikido New London County
  • E. Lee Alexander, Aikido of Red Bank
  • Alexander Angustain, Maru Aikikai South
  • Jonathan Aronson, Saratoga Aikido
  • Heath Atchley, Aikido of Amherst
  • Maite Azcoitia, Gold Coast Aikikai
  • James Baptiste, Bermuda Aikikai
  • Kevin Bennet, Peachtree Aikikai Atlanta
  • Robert Bergman, Regent Park Community Aikido
  • Gabriel Bixel, Aiki Muenster
  • Margaret Bower, Water’s Edge Aikikai
  • David F. Breniak, Aikido of Red Bank
  • Normand Brodeur, Aikikai de L’Universite Laval
  • Nathan Burd, Aikido of Prescott
  • Christy Calder, Aikido of Santa Barbara
  • Louis Caron, Aikido of Santa Barbara
  • Jason Carter, Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Aaron Cass, Portsmouth Aikido
  • Dave Childers, North Coast Aikikai
  • Ivar W. Christopher, Iowa City Aikikai
  • Robert L. Clark, Kitsap Aikido
  • David Cody, Aikido of New Orleans
  • Bryan Coffie, Aikido Aruba
  • Ralph R. Craig, Mohawk Valley Aikido
  • Lynne Crystal, Aikido of Red Bank
  • Charles Cunningham, Grinnell Aikikai
  • Shawn Dansby, Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Thomas A. Davis, Peachtree Aikikai Atlanta
  • Jerry N. Dewees, Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Mario Di Marco, Lake County Aikikai
  • Ursula Donnelly, Center Island Aikido
  • Diane P. Dubois, Lewiston Aikido/Willow
  • Matthew Dykeman, North Shore Aikikai
  • A. Scott DeJesse, Aikido of Amarillo
  • Neal Earhart, Aikido of Westchester
  • Christopher Ednie, Aikido of Red Bank
  • Edward Estrada, Water Oak Aikikai
  • Michael Fitzpatrick, Aikido of Red Bank
  • Robert Fraley, Two Rivers Aikikai
  • Graham Fraser, Mount Saint Vincent Aikikai
  • Georgette Frate-Mikus, North Coast Aikikai
  • Rejean Gauthier, Aikikai de L’Universite Laval
  • Marilene Gelinas, Monteregie Aikikai
  • Damon Grace, Kingston Aikido
  • Peter Greig, Southern Maryland Aikido Center
  • Francesco Grieco, Aikido of Santa Barbara
  • Michael Grover, Sadkane School for Aikido
  • Ivan Guerra, Aikido of Westchester
  • Peter Gundy, Aikido of Westchester
  • John Hadfield, Diamond State Aikido
  • Eric Hardendorff, Aikido of Northampton
  • Christopher Hawke, Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • Vincent Hauser, Austin Aikikai
  • Nelson Hayes, Aikido North Jersey
  • Katie Haywood, Open Sky Aikikai
  • Robert Humphreys, Allegheny College Aikikai
  • Nassim Hurd, Portland Aikikai
  • Tom Ito, Southland Aikido
  • Roderick Johnson, Aikikai of Philadelphia
  • Kim Johnston, NY Eastside Aikikai
  • Edward Kardell, Aikido of the Canyon Lands
  • Dean G. Karres, Central Illinois Aikikai
  • David Katz, Aikido of Westchester
  • Chris K. Kerin, Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Damien Kick, Austin Aikikai
  • Lenore Irene Killam, Sangamon Aikikai
  • John Kilpatrick, Okolona Aikido
  • Will Kirkpatrick, Monadnock Aikikai
  • Shawn Kim, Plano Aikido Center
  • Scott Korbylo, Aikido of Raritan Valley/Ren Sei Kan
  • Eiji Kurashige, Chatham Aikido
  • Robert C. Kores, Aikido School of Memphis
  • Barry Kushel, Aikido of Nassau County
  • Penny Landschoot, Austin Aikikai
  • Stephen Lasher, Aikido of Central New York
  • Garrett Lee, Maru Aikikai South
  • Dya K. Levitt, Harvard Aikikai
  • Reuven Lirov, Pinellas County Aikikai
  • Michael Livingston, Center Island Aikido
  • John Manderson, Bermuda Aikikai
  • Dale Mankin, El Paso Aikikai
  • Giorgio Mariani, Aikido of Scottsdale
  • Jason Martell, Lunenburg Aikikai
  • Meipo Martin, Capital Hill Aikikai
  • Edgar Martinez, Miami Aikikai
  • Peter J. McDade, Shodokan
  • Danilo Mezzadri, Aikido of Hattiesburg
  • Joel B. Miller, Austin Aikikai
  • Chris Mills, Island Aikido
  • Robert L. Mintz, Prairie Aikikai
  • Glenn Murray, Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Michael Napoli, Portland Aikikai
  • Alex Nelson, Two Rivers Aikikai
  • Steve Nelson,  Aikido of Norfolk
  • Walter T. Oka, Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Jonathan Olson, Aikikai de L’Universite Laval
  • Sandra Parker, Aikido of Prescott
  • Jason Parsons, Kern River Aikikai
  • Pat Patton, Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Charn Pennewaert, Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Karen Peterson, Aikido of Northampton
  • Teri Pierson, Two Rivers Aikikai
  • Stefan Pisocki, Diamond State Aikido
  • Evie Pond, Central New Brunswick Aikikai
  • Neil Quigley, Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • James Reed Jones, Aikido of Prince Edward Island
  • Bradley D. Rettew, Aikido North Jersey
  • Herman Rodriguez, Lake County Aikikai
  • Adam Roehrig, Kentuckiana Aikikai
  • Kevin Roland,  Northern Virginia Aikikai
  • Dale Roznowski, Aikido of Hernando County
  • Rain Sadkane, The Sadkane School of Aikido
  • Juan Sampayo Sarraga, San Juan Aikikai
  • Acxel Saravia, Lenape Aikikai
  • Mike Schumacher, Pax River Aikikai
  • Garn G. Sherman, Jr., West Georgia Aikikai
  • Edward Shockley, Aikikai of Philadelphia
  • Benjamin Silver, Aikido of Santa Barbara
  • Michael H. Silverman, Asheville Aikikai
  • Don Slater, Georgia Southern University Aikido Club
  • Tinka Sloss, Aikido of Santa Barbara
  • Randall Smith, Florida Aikikai
  • Michael Terruso, Vineland Aikikai
  • Derrell Thomas, Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Myron Thomas, Maru Aikikai South
  • Brian A. Vacante, Aikido North Jersey
  • Matthew M. Wavro, Aikido of Red Bank
  • Tommy Lee White, Open Sky Aikikai
  • Martin Wise, Mandala Aikido
  • Rod Yabut, Southland Aikido
  • Yordan Yordanov, Aikido of New Orleans
  • Krzysztof Zawadzki, Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Donald Zdeb, Litchfield Hills Aikikai


USAF Shihan


                    USAF Shihan

(updated 1/2021)



Eligibility for Shihan requires holding the rank of 6th dan for a minimum of 6 years. Shihan is an appointment designated by Aikikai World Headquarters at the recommendation of Yamada Sensei. Receiving Shihan certification is not automatic as there are several other factors taken into consideration.

Shihan can test USAF members through 3rd dan. 4th dan testing must be administered by Shihan of the Technical Committee. No additional power or authority accompanies the title of Shihan, rather it shows ones qualifications as an Aikido instructor of the highest level.

Shihan certification is organization-specific and cannot to be transferred outside of the USAF; therefore, only USAF Shihan are posted

  • Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan, New York Aikikai
  • Akira Tohei Shihan, Midwest Aikido Center, In Memoriam
  • Mitsunari Kanai Shihan, New England Aikikai, In Memoriam
  • Sugano Seiichi Shihan, New York Aikikai, In Memoriam
  • Harvey Konigsberg Shihan, Woodstock Aikido
  • Claude Berthiaume Shihan, Aikido de la Montagne
  • Peter Bernath Shihan, Florida Aikikai
  • Donovan Waite Shihan, Aikido of Greater Philadelphia
  • Andy Demko Shihan, New Castle Aikikai
  • Mike Abrams Shihan, New York Aikikai
  • Steve Pimsler Shihan, New York Aikikai
  • Robert Workoff Shihan, New York Aikikai
  • Rick Stickles Shihan, Aikido Schools of New Jersey, In Memoriam
  • Hal Lehrman Shihan, Aikido of Park Slope
  • Larry Bieri Shihan, Finger Lakes Aikido
  • Ariff Mehter Shihan, Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Eddie Hagihara
  • Linda Lee Vecchio Shihan, Aikido of Cleveland, In Memoriam
  • Luqman Abdul Hakeem Shihan, Aikido School of Maghreb, In Memoriam
  • George Kennedy Shihan, Aikido Centers of Atlanta
  • Bernard Mulligan Shihan, Shodokan, In Memoriam
  • Michael Sheahon Shihan, Greater Hartford Aikikai
  • Henry Smith Shihan, Aikikai of Philadelphia, In Memoriam
  • Richard Stroud Shihan, MIT Aikido Club, In Memoriam
    • 2013:
  • Dermot McDonald Shihan, Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Raymond Farinato Shihan, Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Irvin Faust Shihan, Albany Aikido, In Memoriam
  • Douglas Firestone Shihan, Aikido of Westchester
  • Charlie McGinnis Shihan, Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Edward Peteroy Shihan, USAF Academy Aikido Club
  • Joel Posluns Shihan, North Vancouver Aikikai
  • Robert Saad Shihan, Aikido de la Montagne
  • Frank Wong Shihan, Aikido Curacao
    • 2014:
  • T.K. Lee Shihan, Aikido of Houston, In Memoriam
  • Larry Levitt Shihan, Valley Aikido
  • Dennis Meno Shihan, Suncoast Aikido
  • Joseph Nemeth Shihan, Aikido of Nassau County
  • Gordon Sakamoto Shihan, Northern Virginia Aikikai
  • Peter Tamagni Shihan, Vineland Aikikai, In Memoriam
  • Darrell Tangman Shihan, Augusta Aikido Club
    • 2015:
  • Penny Bernath Shihan, Florida Aikikai
  • Sioux Hall Shihan, Harvard Aikikai, In Memoriam
  • Yukiko Katagiri Shihan, Cornell Aikido Club
  • Yoko Okamoto Shihan, Portland Aikikai
    • 2016:
  • Nelson Andujar Shihan, Nations Aikido
  • Steven Kaufman Shihan, Open Sky Aikikai
  • Grady Lane Shihan, Brevard Aikikai
  • Daniel Laurendeau Shihan, McGill Aikido
  • Giles Longpre Shihan, McGill Aikido
  • Yousuf Mehter Shihan, Aikido of Central New York
  • Walter Van Enck Shihan, Midwest Aikido Center, In Memoriam
  • Richard Wagener Shihan, Palm Beach Aikikai
    • 2017:
  • Collins Smith Shihan, Bermuda Aikikai
  • Kazuho Nishida Shihan, City Aikido of Los Angeles
    • 2018:
  • David Birt Shihan, Davis Aikikai
  • Glenn Brooks Shihan, Aikido of Scottsdale
  • Donald Dickie Shihan, Ottawa Aikikai
  • Edmund Di Marco Shihan, Lake County Aikikai
  • Chester Griffin Shihan, Long Beach Island Aikikai
  • Eugene Monteleone Shihan, Suffolk Aikikai
  • Laura Jacobs Pavlick Shihan, Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • Gentil Pennewaert Shihan, Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Gustavos Ramos Shihan, Miami Aikikai
  • Eliot Rifkin Shihan, Miami Aikikai
  • William Xavier Staub Shihan, Waianae Coast Aikido
  • Geraldin Tremblay Shihan, Waianae Coast Aikido
  • Arthur Wise Shihan, Evanston Aikido Center
    • 2019:
  • Eugene Abarrategui Shihan, Aikido de la Montagne
    • 2020:
  • Spiros Koyanis, Two Rivers Aikikai
  • Musashi Numata, Princeton Aikikai
    • 2021:
  • Damon G. Apodaca, Santa Fe Budokan
  • Patrick Hardesty, Kentuckiana Aikikai/ University of Louisville Aikido Club
  • Alicia Hardesty-Cordero, Kentuckiana Aikikai/ University of Louisville Aikido Club
  • Stephen Jesberger, Mohawk Valley Aikido
  • Brian Mizerak, Woodstock Aikido
  • Daniel Palmer, Asheville Aikikai
  • Gail Harold Skinner, Aikido of the Canyonlands

USAF Shidoin



        USAF Certified Shidoin 

(updated 1/2021)



Shidoin is certification granted to an instructor who has had yondan for at least 1 year, and is a regularly scheduled instructor at the dojo. It is usually given only to the Chief Instructor, and the appointment of more then one shidoin in a dojo will be reviewed as to its necessity. A Shidoin may test up to and including 1st kyu alone. In order to test a student for shodan and nidan rank, there must be at least 2 Shidoin on the testing committee. Sandan and above must test in front of a Shihan. SHIDOIN CERTIFICATION IS DOJO-SPECIFIC AND IS DETERMINED BY THE CHIEF INSTRUCTOR OF A DOJO.  THE CERTIFICATION DOES NOT TRAVEL WITH AN INDIVIDUAL IF THEY RELOCATE TO A NEW DOJO.

In order to apply for Shidoin, the applicant must be recommended by either a Shidoin or Shihan. The purpose of this title is to grant the Chief Instructor of a dojo the ability to test his or her own students and therefore to promote growth within the dojo. It is not a reward, given solely on the basis of rank, and will not be granted for that purpose. This teaching certification will be awarded only on an as needed basis. The status of all applying and renewing shidoin is subject to review by the Technical Committee.

In order to maintain certification, Shidoin must attend one major seminar each year and attend the class for instructors that may be offered at that seminar. In addition, they must attend a second seminar taught by a member of the Technical Committee in the same calendar year as well as be an active USAF member in good standing of a USAF dojo in good standing.

  • Tim Antrim, Southside Aikido Club
  • Matthew Bagedonow, MIT Aikido Club
  • James Baker, Aikido of Norfolk
  • Gene Batan, Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Knut Bauer, Central Illinois Aikikai
  • Driss Benmoussa, Casablanca Aikikai
  • Thomas Berry, Aikido of Ashland Kentucky
  • Calvin Blanchard, Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Fiona Blyth, Boston Aikikai
  • Jose Bonachea, Miami Aikikai
  • Gary Bushorn, Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Dolita Cathcart, Harvard Aikikai
  • Fabio Chirinos, Dairyukai Aikikai
  • Anthony Chong, Aikido Curacao
  • Christopher Clark, Portland Aikido
  • James Constable, Lunenburg Aikikai
  • Tim Cooper, Albany Aikido
  • Robert Crowell, Knoxville Aikikai
  • Jesus Delgado-Arias, Miami Aikikai
  • Jean-Rene David, Aikido de la Montagne
  • Andrew L. Demko, New Castle Aikikai
  • Patricia W. Demko, New Castle Aikikai
  • Karen De Paola, Skylands Aikikai
  • Maria Cristina Dumlao, Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Byron Eddy, Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • Brian Ericksen, Heaven and Earth Aikido
  • Anthony Fiore, Aikido of Chester County
  • Sylvie Firestone, Aikido of Westchester
  • Paul Forhan, Aikido of El Paso
  • Julia Freedgood, Valley Aikido
  • Alan James Gay, Savannah Aikikai
  • Paul Glavine, Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Roger Geertz Gonzalez, Florida Aikikai
  • Kevin P. Grace, Albany Aikido
  • Larry Graham, Kansas City Aikido School
  • Donna Grant, Southern Maryland Aikido Center
  • James Graves, Southland Aikido
  • Vu Xuan Ha, Boston Aikikai
  • Motier Haskins, Fairfield Iowa Aikikai
  • Jack Hayes, Cedar Rapids Aikikai
  • Daniel Hayes, Chushin Aikikai
  • George Hemmings, St. Ives Aiki Dojo
  • Emmanuel Herzog, Florida Aikikai
  • Kali Hewitt-Blackie, Regent Park Community Aikido
  • Colleen Hogan, Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Michel J. Hovan, Granite State Aikido Club
  • Victor Hung, Aikido of Colorado
  • Watu Wadada Brent James, Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Damir Jamsek, Austin Aikikai
  • Frank Johnson, Aikido of Nassau County
  • Ayal Joshua, Miami Aikikai
  • Sharon Kanai, New England Aikikai
  • Salvatore LaCorte, North Coast Aikikai
  • Jean Laplante, Aikikai de l’Universite Laval
  • Joshua Layton, Monteregie Aikikai
  • Rock Lazo, Kenosha Aikikai
  • Matthias Lynch, Glen Ellyn Aikido Club
  • Dennis Main, Aikido of Charlotte
  • Lauren Mallas, San Francisco Aikikai
  • Paul Manogue, Aikido of Raritan Valley/Ren Sei Kan
  • Cliff Marcus, Aikido of Nassau County
  • Lynn Marshall, Two Rivers Aikikai
  • Michael Martin, Capitol Hill Aikikai
  • Todd Martin, Aikido of Northampton
  • Robert Mason, Aikido of Dallas
  • Wayne Massey, El Paso Aikikai
  • Matthew May, Midwest Aikido Center
  • William McLuskie, Water Oak Aikikai
  • Michael McNally, Hoboken Aikikai
  • Karen Meno, Suncoast Aikido
  • Thomas Milucci, Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Susan Monroe, Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Lynne Morrison, Florida Aikikai
  • Richard Morrison, Center Island Aikido
  • Daryl Muranaka, Harvard Aikikai
  • Noel Murphy, Alamo Area Aikikai
  • Jun-ya Nakatsugawa, New York Aikikai
  • Masako Nakatsugawa, Syracuse University Aikido Club
  • Richard Nardi, Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Eugene Nelson, Florida Aikikai
  • Cong Nguyen, Summit View Aikido
  • David Norton, Pax River Aikikai
  • Marie Numata, Princeton Aikikai
  • Eugene O’Connor, Bermuda Aikikai
  • Larry Ozenberger, Aikido of New Orleans
  • Anthea Pascaris, Notting Hill Aikikai
  • Michael Patino, Florida Aikikai
  • Arturo Peal, Aikido of New Orleans
  • Jason Perna, Old City Aikido
  • Thanh Vinh Pham, Aikido de la Montagne
  • Ismael Rangel, Aikido of Austin
  • Mark Reichert, Cornell Aikido Club
  • Jonathan Reid, Aikido of Central New York
  • Chuck Renner, Springfield Aikido School
  • David Ross, Aiki Muenster
  • Herve Rouxel, Palm Beach Aikikai
  • Joseph F. Roy, Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Youssef Sadkane, Sadkane School for Aikido
  • Samuel Santiago, Aikido Chiheisen
  • Edward Schechtman, Center Island Aikido
  • Annette Schediwy-Mackrel, Woodstock Aikido
  • Dee Seabolt, Aikido Center of Jacksonville
  • James Shaffer, Long Beach Island Aikikai
  • Sidney Shiba, Aikido of Plano
  • Jeffrey Shimonski, Florida Aikikai
  • James Sinnott, Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • James Soviero, Aikido of Red Bank
  • Marilyn St John, Woodstock Aikido
  • Blue Spruell, Peachtree Aikikai Atlanta
  • Jay Stallman, Peachtree Aikikai Atlanta
  • Edwin Sterns, Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Kevin Templer, Aikido of San Antonio
  • Jayne Thompson, Cedar Rapids Aikikai
  • Robert Toabe, MIT Aikido Club
  • Eran Vardi, Aikido of Ramapo Valley
  • Javier Vazques-Bravo, San Juan Aikikai
  • G. Jeffrey Vernis, Palm Beach Aikikai
  • Norbert J. Verville, San Francisco Aikikai
  • Bonita M. Veysey, Skylands Aikikai
  • Alex Vieira, Skylands Aikikai
  • James Walsh, Florida Aikikai
  • Robert Ward, Aikido of Prescott
  • Jonathan Weiner, Aikido of Charlotte
  • Naomi Wentworth, Midwest Aikido Center
  • Robert Whelan, Shodokan
  • Edward Williams, Vineland Aikikai
  • Christine Wong, Aikido of Santa Barbara
  • Gordon Wormser, Aikido of Park Slope
  • Ken Yamazaki, NY Eastside Aikikai
  • Kiyoshi Yasutake, Midwest Aikido Center
  • Jerry Zimmerman, Aikido of North Jersey


Summer Camp Photos Are Now Available

We are pleased to announce that the USAF Summer Camp album is now available for viewing.  We are deeply grateful to Jaime Kahn, whose amazing talent has provided a permanent collection of  images which so beautifully capture the camp experience.  All photos are available for purchase.  Please proceed to the Recent link at to view the beginning of the new USAF archives.

In Memory of Nick Kraus Sensei, Vicksburg Aikikai

We are sorry to announce the passing of Nick Kraus Sensei, Godan. Kraus Sensei touched the lives of many people in his years of aikido and here is one written by Ray Farinato, Aikido of Fairfield County:

Practicing aikido brings us into contact with many wonderful people, some who we may have missed because they did not draw attention to themselves. Recently the aikido community lost one of its ‘good guys’ and a very dear friend to me. I’d like to offer this small remembrance of my sempai Nick Kraus, who at the time of his passing was the former dojo cho and founder of Vicksburg Aikikai in Vicksburg, Mississippi where lived with his dear wife Kinu.

I had the pleasure of coming under Nick’s wing in the late 1970’s while training at Hombu dojo in Shinjuku. He had been living and training in Japan since the mid 1970’s and well understood my plight of making my way through Japanese culture and negotiating the right mix of aikido training, professional development and simply enjoying life. Nick not only introduced me (and Mike Sheahon) to special training with sensei Seijuro Masuda, but he helped me get a job with the engineering firm where he was employed. It turned out that we had several interests in common and he welcomed me with his characteristic enthusiasm into all of those corners of his life.

After a year in Japan I returned to the US, Nick and Kinu remained in Japan for several years, and we had only occasional communication. He had to cease aikido training due to his physical situation, and recast his unflinching effort into weapons training and his professional life as a costal engineer. Twenty years later we reconnected and unsurprisingly Nick had made significant positive contributions in both those facets of his life. He was lauded by his academic colleagues for his contributions in coastal research and engineering, and grew a dedicated group of martial artists in his hometown, where he established Vicksburg Aikikai. Both of those communities benefited greatly from the life he breathed into them.

Nick brought a spirit of budo to everything he did. He was fearless about challenging people to consider whether what they were doing made sense. This guiding principle, which he applied to himself even more so than to others, honed the spirits of those people who were willing to hang on for the ride and rise to the challenge. He always gave me good advice since I knew he had my best interests at heart. I cherish the strength of his committed and kind personality, and will miss him dearly.

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