Archives for February 2017

From our Birankai Friends to Students and Friends of Chiba Sensei

Dear Students and Friends of Chiba Sensei,

Mrs. Chiba has agreed to sell the last of Sensei’s life long collection of weapons and accessories. Below is a link to a website containing the collection.

The site itself is broken into three areas:


  • Tsuba
  • Kozuka, Kōgai, Menuki and Fuchi/Kashira
  • Swords

In each area there is a list of items. Clicking on a single item will show you details about that item as well as a Certificate of Authenticity, if one is available.

You can click on images in the detail pages to see larger versions.

The purchase process will take several steps:

  1. Click the “Buy Now” button you see on the listing page next to the item you wish to purchase.
  2. You will be directed to a page for you to fill in your shipping and personal information.
  3. Click the Purchase button.
  4. You will receive an email with further instructions, and the item will be placed on hold.
  5. Payments are being processed through Paypal. We will not be accepting checks. Items will be held for 4 days pending receipt of payment from Paypal. After 4 days, we will release the item to be sold to someone else. Once payment has been received your item will be processed and shipped to you, and the item marked as sold.

Thank you to Derek Shaw for building this website, Didier Boyet for cataloguing, researching, and appraising all of the items, Gary Payne for photographing them and Dick Miller for storing and shipping the items.

Web Site

Warm Regards,

Lynne Ballew

Trustee, TK Chiba Trust

Congratulations to new Shihan

The title of Shihan is appointed by Aikikai Hombu Dojo, which states that “no additional power or authority accompanies the title of Shihan, but it shows qualifications as Aikido instructors of the highest rank.”

The USAF is pleased to announce two members who received Shihan title, effective January 1, 2017. They are:

Collins Smith, Bermuda Aikikai

Kazuho Nishida, City Aikido of Los Angeles




Eddie Hagihara : Congratulations And An Introduction

The year of 2017 started with good news for the aikido community in the USA. This good news was announced in January during Aikikai’s annual kagami biraki celebration. Four Americans were promoted to 8th dan for the first time in aikido history. Needless to say I know all of them very well so it makes me very happy.

One particular person among the four is Mr. Eddie Hagihara from the USAF. I’m especially happy for him for many reasons. The recommendation for his promotion was made by me and the USAF for his exemplary aikido life for many years and his long-time support of the aikido community. That is the congratulations part of this story. Now for the introduction.

 It is unfortunate that Mr. Hagihara is not well-known to the new generation of aikidoists in the USA. The main reason for this is due to the wonderful qualities of his personality. Hagihara Shihan is a very quiet, shy and humble person. (Except when he has a few glasses of beer!) I know these qualities very well because we’ve known each other for 55 years. He was born in 1935 and promoted to shodan in 1962 by the late Koichi Tohei Sensei. Right after he received his shodan he went to study at Aikikai in Japan. I was already an uchi deshi there and that was the first time we met. And we became friends. At that time there were very few foreigners training at Aikikai, not like the present.

By the way, Mr. Bob Nadeau, who has also been promoted to 8th dan, was also in Japan for the same reason as Hagihara Shihan. The three of us hung out together on and off the mat because I spoke English. Both Eddie and Bob traveled with me when I went to teach regularly at a US military camp. They were especially helpful when I taught Americans. However, I still wonder whether they were really accompanying me in order to drink the good scotch and beer available in the military camp.

 Now I must tell you a serious story that shows Eddie’s true nature. By 1962 I had already decided to accept the invitation to be the main teacher at the newly formed New York Aikikai. In contrast to the present, the dojo was very small in membership and most of the students came from judo. Eddie was an original member of the dojo and was the main teacher even thought he had limited knowledge at the time. That’s why he was sent to Japan; to improve his skills and become the main teacher in New York. At that time communications were not as easy and sophisticated as they are today and there was plenty of confusion. Eddie found out about my assignment in New York while he was in Japan and I’m sure he was very surprised and confused about it. The reason I respect Eddie and owe him so much is that his attitude toward me after this confusion was great – he was gracious and humble to me as if nothing bothered him. He gave full support to my goals and efforts at the New York Aikikai. I came to New York in 1964 to be chief instructor and Eddie came back at the same time. I felt bad about the situation but there was nothing I could do but apologize to him.

After his return to New York, Eddie got married and opened a dojo on Long Island. He still displays the qualities of quiet strength and humility that are the foundation of his nature and that have made my aikido mission here even easier. I have great respect for him because of that and that’s why I feel so happy about his promotion. He’s still very attached to the New York Aikikai and I think he loves it more than anybody else.

My congratulations to Eddie Hagihara and my best wishes for even a longer life in aikido.

Aikido Portraits

It’s been said that, if you want to find a place where people of all ethnicities, religions, social classes, and political beliefs come together for a common goal, look on the mat.  I am deeply grateful to be a part of this diverse community, which comes together with the common goal of refining and nourishing our minds, bodies, and spirits.

Click here to view Aikido Portraits – Part 1


Jaime Kahn

New York Aikikai

Yamada Sensei in Russia – And Around the World

We all are keenly aware of the heated political climate – nationally and globally – in the news these days.  There might be less conflict in the world if everyone aspired to remove cultural barriers instead of building them.

I count myself fortunate to have joined Yamada Sensei on his trip to St. Petersburg, Russia last year.  It was the highlight of my travels in 2016.  As I reflect on the trip I am reminded most of the last day of the seminar.  Our host Valery Skryliov had arranged for Sensei to fire one of the cannons mounted on the walls of the Peter and Paul Fortress.  This has been an honor generally reserved for Russian dignitaries so I can only imagine that its approval was not easily obtained.

As a student of history, too, I could not help but note how much has changed since the Russo-Japanese war when Sensei fired that cannon.  Born in Japan, immigrated to the U.S., and traveled all over the world as the preeminent emissary of his generation dedicated to the Art of Peace, Sensei has truly crossed countless cultural barriers with his unfailing devotion to Aikido and his students far and wide.  

The nation and the world could learn a lot from Sensei’s example.
Blue Spruell

Peachtree Aikikai Atlanta

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