Dan Promotion Applications Mailed to Aikikai June 5th, 2020

Test applications mailed to Aikikai Hombu Dojo on June 5th, 2020 for registration of  dan rank




  • Daniel Barrett – Aikido of Northampton
  • Bobby Bissram – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Miles Black – Miami Aikikai
  • Torrence Fossland – Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • John Freund – Aikido of Charlotte
  • Daryl Hodges – Portland Aikikai
  • Andre Jacobs – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Jesse Martin – Miami Aikikai
  • Yosvani Montelongo – Miami Aikikai
  • James Plunkett – Aikido of Charlotte
  • Joan Prives – Center Island Aikido
  • Eric Rodriguez – Miami Aikikai
  • Emmanuel Rueda – Miami Aikikai
  • Chris Swan – Portland Aikikai
  • William Zezelic – Center Island Aikido


  • Gustavo Colon – Aikido Chiheisen
  • Daniel Francoeur – Ottawa Aikido Center
  • Kiley Haftorson – Alamo Area Aikikai
  • Claudio Lopez – Florida Aikikai
  • Michael Lynch – Kenosha Aikikai


  • Robert Humphreys – Allegheny College Aikikai
  • James Hyde – Aikido of Charlotte
  • Alan Smith – Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Scott Stein – Palm Beach Aikikai
  • Takumi Suzuki – Portland Aikikai


  • Jerry DeWees – Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Stephen Miller – Kenosha Aikikai

Yamada Sensei’s Article for Honbu Dojo Newsletter

Yamada Sensei was asked by Honbu Dojo to write an article for their newsletter. Yamada Sensei wrote the article in Japanese and also provided a copy translated into English. Sensei asked that this article be shared with USAF members and his students around the world:

To the Members with Gratitude

Yoshimitsu Yamada
US Aikido Federation

I am writing this at a small park in front of my apartment.  It’s 7 am.  Beside me, some ten doves are pecking at bread crumbs.  Every now and then, a brave sparrow couple dares to intrude.  What a heart-warming sight!  Were I given a cup of Italian espresso and a Cuban cigar, it would be beyond my bliss!  But, under the current circumstances …   When the birds retreat to their nap, the park may find a lonesome man dancing in a frenzy to his smart-phone music while, away on a bench young lovers, sitting 6 feet apart, may still affirm their love.

To our generation who never knew the Spanish flu of 100 years ago, the “Corona attack” was a horror no one had experienced to date.  Saying this in the past tense sounds as if the issue has come to an end, but unfortunately, we must still fear and be ready for a second and third wave.  Bearing this firmly in mind, let me tell you how we have faced and coped with this catastrophe.

Please allow me to begin with a personal experience.  In February every year, I go to Japan to take care of both personal and official business.  It was the same this February.  At that time, I had heard about the corona virus, but I was not aware that we were in any immediate danger.  However, when I checked in at my usual hotel, I noticed something was amiss.  February is China’s New Year, but the Chinese tourist groups that normally fill the hotels were strangely absent.  Then, having learned the news of infections on a cruise ship, I immediately decided to return to the US.  Alas, the corona virus traveled faster than me, and upon return I found New York under an emergency order.  In March, we were told to stay home and close our Dojo.  Frankly, at this point, I felt that this would be like a vacation, but for more than two months now I have been inundated with phone calls and letters that required my attention (never mind vacation).  Then my thoughts were full of “negatives” – declining Aikido membership, financial problems with the dojo, disappointing cancelation of domestic and international summer camps as well as more than a dozen training sessions, etc. that I look forward to and enjoy.  Most painfully, I learned about the passing of our members and their loved ones due to Covid-19.  

When I felt the most despair, it was the very people whose future I worried about that helped lift my spirit.  Nearly every day I received phone calls of encouragement from members around the US and the world.  Hearing their words, I was happy they felt a part of the Dojo, that Dojo is theirs; further, I was touched by the passion they have for Aikido and the affection they feel for Dojo and Sensei, i.e., me.  As time went on, they came together which led to their developing an on-line class program.  This act by Aikido members reaffirmed for me how important Aikido, Dojo and students are to me.  All this made me very proud of them.  They are my treasures.  The corona episode, which initially made me feel so negative, has in the end made me appreciate the positives. 

Thank you all!  Let us persevere together!  You and I have Aikido!!

Invitation to Share Dojo Virual Classes

Dear USAF and Sansuikai Instructors:

We hope this finds you healthy and well, and that you are managing to adjust to the many new challenges we face in our daily lives.

One of these challenges is how to keep dojo members connected and engaged while our schools remain closed. A growing number of USAF and Sansuikai instructors are holding virtual classes – some of you may be offering classes available only to your dojo members while others are providing classes accessible to anyone through Facebook and other social media outlets.

To help create a centralized location for these USAF and Sansuikai dojo resources, we invite you to share your class invitations, videos, links to your You Tube page, etc., on the USAF Facebook page. Sharing in this manner will help create easier access and visibility for members and the aikido community at large. It will also help everyone stay in touch, remain connected, and support each other as we work on sustaining our physical dojos while keeping the art of aikido alive.

We kindly ask you refrain from posting any videos or materials that have children present, unless it is the instructors’ child(ren) attending the class with them. In addition, any information that is not posted by, or on behalf, of the dojo’s Chief Instructor requires the CI’s approval. Please also know that all posts will be monitored to ensure they are being shared only by USAF and Sansuikai instructors and are instructional.

If you have any questions and/or difficulties sharing to the USAF Facebook page, please email laura@usaikifed.com. Thank you for all your hard work and commitment to help keeping our community together!

A Message From Yamada Sensei 2020_05_10

Dear USAF members:
It’s hard to believe that almost 2 months have gone by since we were in our dojos on the mat together. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday, and sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago.  I am still receiving so many messages from my students around the world, and it brings me much happiness to hear from you and know you are doing okay.  As for me, I am healthy and well, but missing my old life very much. I am just waiting for the day when I can be in my office speaking with people face-to-face, and being on the mat with everyone again. I never realized how much I would miss all the noise and commotion from the construction outside my NY Aikikai office window!
Well, we all must be patient and do what is best of our health and each other.  This is my busy seminar season, and unfortunately I will not be traveling for many months. It is also with a sad heart that I must announce that the USAF summer camp is now officially canceled.  The hotel is in complete agreement and understanding about the situation, and the they are not even open for business yet. As I’m sure you can imagine, it will not be possible to keep everyone safe and enjoy our time doing aikido.  This is very hard for me, there are so many of you I see each summer and it brings me great joy to have the USAF host this camp. It is one of my favorite weeks each year.  The good news however is that we already have our contract to return to the hotel in 2021, and will extend our invitation to Osawa Sensei and Jikou Sugano Sensei to join us next year.
Please stay healthy and take care. I will be in touch again soon, hopefully it will be with good news with a positive forecast for dojos and the aikido world.
Y. Yamada

Greetings from Yamada Sensei

Dear USAF Members,

All of us in the aikido community have been affected by COVID-19. It seems like almost all dojos have closed either voluntarily or by government orders. It is hard for me to have the NY Aikikai closed but we must do our part to help and make sure our students stay safe. Many of you have been kind to call or write to see how I am. I want to assure you all that I am in good health – but very bored – and I am looking forward to the time we will all be able to train again. Hopefully we will be able to do so at summer camp. We are in touch with the hotel  but we must wait a little longer until our final decision.

Y. Yamada

Dan Promotion Applications Mailed to Aikikai December 19th, 2019

Test applications mailed to Aikikai Hombu Dojo on December 19th, 2019 for registration of  dan rank




  • Yukihasa Aokusa – Southland Aikido
  • Luna Beller – Tadiar – New York Aikikai
  • Paul Burt – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Ilya Chuykin – NY Eastside Aikikai
  • Elizabeth Deerkoski – NY Eastside Aikikai
  • Adam Dodway – NY Eastside Aikikai
  • Victor Eng – New York Aikikai
  • Dennis Garcia, Jr. – Miami Aikikai
  • Eric Giroux – Dairyukai Aikikai
  • Israel Gonzalez – Miami Aikikai
  • Gladys Hernandez – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Stephen Hlawaty – Aikido of Colorado
  • Anna Ito – Southland Aikido
  • Doug Johnstone – Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Laurie Lee – New York Aikikai
  • Raymond Lefebvre – Portsmouth Aikido
  • Keith McGuire – Martha’s Vineyard Aikido Club
  • Dale Miller – Aikido of Red Bank
  • David Morris – Austin Aikikai
  • Shawn Rhodes – Pinellas County Aikikai
  • Joseph Vella – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Marissa Wites – Florida Aikikai


  • Anthony Breda – Heaven and Earth Aikido
  • Jesus Camaraza – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Frank Campione – New York Aikikai
  • Robert Conroy – New York Aikikai
  • Eric Fernandez – NY Eastside Aikikai
  • Ricardo Manzo – Florida Aikikai
  • Yaron Nahum – New York Aikikai
  • Mark Pit – Florida Aikikai
  • David Poulicakos – Portland Aikido
  • Omar Ruego – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Phillip Sellers – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Annie Small – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Elizabeth Stevens – NY Eastside Aikikai
  • Spencer Sweeney – New York Aikikai
  • George Walden – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Jonathan Wilde – New York Aikikai
  • Darius Wilkerson – Florida Aikikai
  • Kristina Wollschlaeger – Aikido of Park Slope


  • Paul Alexander – New York Aikikai
  • Jonathan Beller – New York Aikikai
  • Margaret Bower – Water’s Edge Aikikai
  • William Bresniham – Florida Aikikai
  • James Curcurato – New York Aikikai
  • Eric Dunlap – Aikido of Park Slope
  • Peter Greig – Southern Maryland Aikikai
  • James Kanze – Hoboken Aikikai
  • Richard Lookshin – Florida Aikikai
  • Gary McIntosh – Aikido of Cincinnati
  • John Murdoch II – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Jaeouk Ok – New York Aikikai
  • Cosjun Pabua – New York Aikikai
  • Gene Sowles – Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Nerferti Tadiar – New York Aikikai
  • Marie Torrecampo – Long Beach Island Aikikai
  • Calderon Wellington – Florida Aikikai


  • E. Lee Alexander – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Andres Almosny – Florida Aikikai
  • Cristina Costanzo – Florida Aikikai
  • Lynne Crystal – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Alan Fishbone – New York Aikikai
  • Michael Fitzpatrick – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Keith Lit – Florida Aikikai
  • Edward Manalang – Aikido of Nassau County
  • John J Montes – New York Aikikai
  • Zachariah Nobel – Portsmouth Aikido
  • Pat Patton – Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Andres Zoldo – Nations Aikikai

2020 New USAF Dojo

The USAF would like to welcome the following new member dojo:






Santa Fe Budokan

Chief Instructor: Damon Apodaca

190 A Nine Mile Road

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508





Chief Instructor: David O’Donnell

4450 N Tenaya Way

Las Vegas, Nevada  89129


2020 USAF Summer Camp Featured Instructors

We are thrilled to notify you that USAF 2020 Summer Camp will be in honor of the 10th memorial anniversary of Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei and Seiichi Sugano Sensei. In addition to our special guests Yamada Sensei and Osawa Sensei, we are excited to have Sugano Sensei’s son, Jikou Sugano Sensei, join us from Australia for the 2nd half of camp!

More info coming soon!




2019 at a glance

We would like to share with you our 2019 year-end report that was circulated to USAF Chief Instructors.  In an effort to reduce paper waste, we will no longer be mailing a printed copy. We hope you find it informative and wish you a wonderful 2020.

New Year’s Recommendations 2020

The following list comprises the 2020 New Year’s recommendations for 5th dan and above, and Shihan.


The recently posted list on Aikikai Foundation’s website can be found here: Kagami Biraki Grading 2020


  • Penny Armitage – Austin Aikikai
  • Gene Batan – Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Christopher Ednie – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Kevin Farrell – Woodstock Aikido
  • Maurits Filet – Florida Aikikai
  • Kali Hewitt-Blackie – Regent Park Community Aikido
  • Alan Gay – Savannah Aikikai
  • Ronald Houle – Portland Aikido
  • Jordan Jordanov – Aikido of New Orleans
  • David Kedney – Midwest Aikido Center
  • Joel Leffert – Woodstock Aikido
  • Anthea Pascaris – Notting Hill Aikikai
  • Jonathan Weiner – Aikido of Charlotte
  • Brian Weidman – Aikido of San Antonio


  • Lynn Marshall – Two Rivers Aikikai
  • Mohamed Mounji – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Richard Nardi – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Eugene Nelson – Florida Aikikai
  • Andrew Newton – Palm Beach Aikikai
  • Marie Numata – Princeton Aikikai
  • Edward Stearns – Aikido Center of Atlanta


  • Masashi Numata – Princeton Aikikai


  • Spiros Koyanis – Two River Aikikai
  • Masashi Numata – Princeton Aikikai


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