Aikido In The Rain

During a rainy weekend while sitting in thought about my time in aikido, I was distracted by the individual rain drops falling on the ubiquitous asphalt and mineral shingle roof keeping me dry; glad to be dry, and a thought began to form. I thought, how much like the flow of water, the perfection of ki in aikido practice must be. I envisioned the drumming drops striking in their chaotic pattern, making their meandering journey down the rough surface of the shingles. During their journey, the drops begin to coalesce into small rivulets picking up mass and slowly picking speed as they flowed to the edge of the roof. At the edge of the roof, dictated by the water’s surface tension and the pull of gravity, bulges into a pool. Ultimately gravity wins and the almost magical water both drips and streams off the roof. It was not until another recent rainy weekend day while reading a book on martial arts at a coffee shop, that the thought of rain and the roof returned, and began to develop in my minds eye and determined once home, I would sit down and develop the thought.

What I ultimately realized was that something was missing from the magical water and the forces of nature, a critical piece; people. I then realized the roof I was under, it self, stood as the symbol of humanity. The roof was developed in antiquity by our ancestor’s as a response to the chaotic state of nature. The roof is and was a means of co-existence with nature. The roof does not destroy the rain that falls upon it, for we cannot live without water. The roof does not throw the rain back where it cam from; water is also a friend and useful. Rather, the roof during a downpour, allows the rain to go somewhere non-threatening to the inhabitant. The roof was not likely developed in a flash of genius by some pre-historical ancestor. More than likely the roof evolved over time into what many of us now take for granted; until we don’t have one. I began to see the interaction of forces between the rain and the roof like the interactions of people of the martial arts and aikido in particular.

Like the rain, humanity is a product of nature, and yet unlike rain we are conscious. Like nature and the rain, humanity can be chaotic. It is therefore the chaotic nature between humans in nature that must be balanced. I believe that people choose the martial arts, even if to a small degree, to learn to defend themselves from other people. Regardless of what they say when they first enter the dojo door, self-defense against other people must be a reason; or why not painting or music or any other myriad of choices. People that choose the martial arts over, lets say guns, seem to understand inherently that our fellow humans can at times be either a competitor or a compatriot (chaotic?) and killing them is an extreme option. Like water, we need other people, and on occasion, a means of dealing with them when their chaotic nature becomes violent.

I have found aikido as a great means to practice self-defense while making new and lasting friendships. Aikido is specifically none competitive and many of the techniques were modified by O-sensei for safety from several very deadly Japanese fighting systems. Many of the people that really need self-defense skills are turned away by the apparent violence of martial arts. Some of our new members were attracted to aikido because it is non-competitive and “softer” which provides a safe place to practice a proven martial art without the excess of baggage of competition or on average, more aggressive practitioners.

The foundation of aikido is learning about and mastering Aiki. Aiki is the blending and harmonizing of positive and negative ki toward a single end. In aikido we refer to the practicing pair as uke and nage; uke is the attacker (negative ki) and nage (positive ki) performs the technique being practiced. Note; uke attacks, but I did not use the word defender. Nage is proactive and does not receive the attack; rather, nage moves to a safer position in which to initiate Aiki and thereby harmonize with the attack and add their ki to uke’s ki, and both with the power of nature (gravity).

Be forewarned, the practice of aikido is in intimate interaction between two or more people of which you are physically attached to one another during the execution of technique. As such, the time required to attain practical success with aikido techniques is generally longer than striking arts where contact is primarily limited to delivering and deflecting strikes. Rather than deflect a strike and then counter strike; you must now move uke’s entire mass, along with you own, into a position where they can be safely controlled; again, we call this process Aiki.

Be patient in your practice, aikido takes time but is worth the wait to become proficient. In the mean time you may make new friends that are more than willing to assist you in your new journey. You may also find your own negative ki diminishing within your spirit. Once proficient, should the need arise, and an attack rains down upon you; you can become that old and enduring roof that safely and efficiently channels the rain to a place where it becomes non-threatening; and maybe even discover a future friend.


Joe Heim

Kenosha Aikikai

Yamada Sensei Honored By Borough of Manhattan

We are delighted to announce that Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has graciously honored Yamada Sensei on his 55 years of aikido service, teaching and inspiration by proclaiming July 10, 2019 Sensei Yoshimitsu Yamada Appreciation Day. 

Congratulations to Yamada Sensei for this amazing accomplishment. We can’t begin to express our gratitude and appreciation for all he has done to help spread aikido throughout the world, and for his continued teachings and guidance as Technical Director of the USAF!

To view the full Proclamation, click here.

Harvey Konigsberg Sensei – A New Documentary

Dear Aikido friends,

We are delighted to announce that the documentary about Harvey Konigsberg Shihan’s subtle understanding of the nuances of Aikido is now complete. Aikido, Life, Art and Harmony: An Interview with Harvey Konigsberg Sensei can be purchased through his website,

The running time is a little over an hour. You can see a preview here:


Kali Hewitt-Blackie

Regent Park Community Aikido

Dan Promotion Applications Mailed to Aikikai April 15th, 2019

Test applications mailed to Aikikai Hombu Dojo on April 15th, 2019 for registration of  dan rank




  • Daniiar Akmatov – Open Sky Aikikai
  • Lori Basiewicz – Sangamon
  • Derrick Doose – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Alice Fairfield – Greater Hartford Aikikai
  • Matthew Ladenheim – Aikido of Charlotte
  • Roberto Montemayor – Aikido of Houston
  • Brian Nicholson – Lunenburg Aikikai
  • Douglas Pickard – Greater Hartford Aikikai
  • Matthew Weldin – Seattle Aikikai
  • Benjamin Wood – Open Sky Aikikai


  • Judith Csiky – Peachtree Aikikai Atlanta
  • Stephanie Curnoe – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Paolo Andrea Dalla Fina – Notting Hill Aikikai
  • Sean Gallagher – Open Sky Aikikai
  • Fatima Hayes – Chushin Aikikai
  • Danielle Hyatt – Seattle Aikikai
  • Francisco Ibarra – Aikido of Houston
  • May Lane – Woodstock Aikido
  • Thomas Lee – Seattle Aikikai
  • Chad Lindsay – Chushin Aikikai
  • Gary Miller – Finger Lakes Aikido
  • David Oskardmay – Open Sky Aikikai
  • Amanda Page – Seattle Aikikai
  • Colleen Pattillo – Seattle Aikikai
  • Colette Phillips – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Mahika Rangnekar – Seattle Aikikai
  • Matthew Unger – Skylands Aikikai
  • Charlie Wilson – Lunenburg Aikikai
  • Tom Worsnopp – Aikido of Park Slope


  • Stanley Mitchell – Peachtree Aikikai Atlanta


  • Peter Aldrich – Bermuda Aikikai
  • David Becker – Seattle Aikikai
  • Andrew DePippo – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Rejean Gauthier – Aikikai de L’Universite Laval
  • John Manderson – Bermuda Aikikai
  • David Pena – Albany Aikido

Dan Promotions Mailed to Aikikai August 19th – December 31st, 2018

Test applications mailed to Aikikai Hombu Dojo between August 19th 2018 and December 31st, 2018 (some listings represent applications prior to Hombu approval)




  • Eric Anderson – Aikido of Scottsdale
  • Jonath Bengston – Aikido of Dallas
  • Steven Bickers – Central Illinois Aikikai
  • Keith Braddy – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Jeffrey Chi – New York Aikikai
  • Yew Choo – Aikido of Dallas
  • William Crupi – Florida Aikido Center
  • Hussein Daaboul – Aikido of Dallas
  • Alex Demic – Kentuckiana Aikikai
  • Sarah Dutton – Water Oak Aikikai
  • Steven Evans – Peachtree Aikikai
  • Avon Harrie – Nations Aikikai
  • Peter Hennes – Aikido of Westchester
  • Michael Holt – Aikido North Jersey
  • Donovan Ingram – Aikido of Dallas
  • Nicholas Katzenberger – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Julia Khavich – Princeton Aikikai
  • Elias Kort – Aikido of Raritan Valley
  • Michael Lambert – Florida Aikikai
  • Anastasia Levie-Sprick – Peachtree Aikikai
  • Elena London – Hoboken Aikikai
  • Theresa Lynch – Kentuckiana Aikikai
  • Paula Marcet – Peachtree Aikikai
  • John Paul Marsten – Peachtree Aikikai
  • Fulvio Mateo – New York Aikikai
  • Madhu Pradhan – Central Illinois Aikikai
  • Bruce Profsky – Aikido of Park Slope
  • Gil Rech – Aikido of Houston
  • Sean Robertson – New York Aikikai
  • Angel Rodriguez – Princeton Aikikai
  • Joseph Salerno – Aikido of Westchester
  • Ira Schwart – Aikido of Scottsdale
  • Taehiko Serai – Aikido of Westchester
  • Michael Shane – Bushwick Aikido
  • Brian Smith – Aikido of Amherst
  • Anthony Sowanski – Aikido of Raritan Valley
  • Phillip Tenaglia – Princeton Aikikai
  • John Thompson – Aikido of Denton
  • Manuel Trejo – Miami Aikikai


  • Reynaldo Abreu – Miami Aikikai
  • Jozaghi Mohammad Ali – Dairyukai Aikikai
  • Cary Bakker – Florida Aikikai
  • Knut Bauer – Central Illinois Aikikai
  • David Beebe – Framingham Aikikai
  • Paul Boccia – Aikido of Westchester
  • Patricia Brosnan – Aikido of Westchester
  • LeAnne Browning – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Luis Caceres – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Philip Cappelo – New York Aikikai
  • Bradford Edwards – Florida Aikikai
  • Anna Gallagher – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Parviz Ghahramani – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Susan Hauser – Austin Aikikai
  • Daniel Herak – Florida Aikikai
  • David Hernandez – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Marla Lender – Summit View Aikido
  • Robert Macpherson – Florida Aikikai
  • Jason Marrero – New York Aikikai
  • Estelle Ostro – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Srinivasan Pillaipakkam – Nations Aikikai
  • Christian Rauh – Florida Aikikai
  • Michael Schumacher – Pax River Aikikai
  • Mitsuko Spruell – Peachtree Aikikai
  • Jeffrey Stueve 0 Nations Aikikai
  • Christopher Torres – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Douglas Willcox – Portsmouth Aikido
  • Derek Wilson – New York Aikikai


  • Robert Allen – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Mark Broderick – Peachtree Aikikai
  • Carlos Del Pino – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • John Duke – Southernmost Aikikai
  • Christopher Hawke – Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • Sachiyo Hotta – Aikido of Westchester
  • Ignacio Mena – NY Eastside Aikikai
  • Marcos Menendez – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Alexander Milton – Palm Beach Aikikai
  • Alfred Pittman – Aikido Center of Jacksonville
  • Thomas Reynolds – Framingham Aikikai
  • Christian Rodriguez – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Dale Roznowski – Aikido of Hernando County
  • Patrick Scott – New York Aikikai
  • Lev Shakhtmeyster – New York Aikikai
  • Stephanie Spiller – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  •  Jean-Marc Walker – Palm Beach Aikikai
  • Joseph Zinnes – Skylands Aikikai


  • Lawrence Aarons – New York Aikikai
  • David Cody – Aikido of New Orleans
  • Anthony Thomas Di Bartolo – Aikido of Nassau County
  • James Gavin – Dairyukai Aikikai
  • Ivan Guerra – Aikido of Westchester
  • Peter Gundy – Aikido of Westchester
  • Reynold Holt – New York Aikikai
  • Oscar Ortega Izquierdo – Pinellas County Aikido
  • Linna Lee – New York Aikikai
  • Andy Madrid – New York Aikikai
  • Glenn Murray – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Bob Riester – Florida Aikikai
  • Linda Robbins – New York Aikikai
  • Vidhya Rojanavongse – New York Aikikai
  • Richard Sarris – Long Island Aikikai
  • Ra’kaa Shabaka – New York Aikikai
  • Scott Shaw – Fairfield Iowa Aikikai
  • Gleb Shumyatsky – New York Aikikai
  • Charles Wood – Aikido of Nassau County

Aikido Journal Interview with Yamada Sensei

As quoted in Aikido Journal: “In 1955, Yoshimitsu Yamada was accepted to the Hombu Dojo uchi deshi program (live-in apprentice) at age 18. He studied directly under the founder, as well as Kissomaru Ueshiba, Koichi Tohei, Kisaburo Osawa and other legendary masters. Yamada Shihan (8th dan) came to the United States in 1964 and has been one of the most important and influential instructors and ambassadors for the art of aikido in the United States and across the globe. He is chief instructor of the New York Aikikai and chief instructor and technical director of the United States Aikido Federation, the largest aikido organization in the United States. In March 2019, Yamada Sensei sat down with Josh Gold to share his thoughts with the Aikido Journal community.”

continue reading full article by clicking here

2019 USAF Summer Camp Registration Is Open!

We are excited to once again host Yamada Sensei, Osawa Sensei, the USAF Technical Committee and Instructors for our 2019 Summer Camp  

from Sunday, July 28th to Saturday, August 3th.
We will be returning to the newly renovated Seaview Dolce Hotel, located at 401 South New York Road, Galloway, New Jersey. To accommodate Aikido camp participants, their family and friends, the hotel has blocked off a number of rooms at a discounted rate, including a very limited number of rooms for arrival prior to camp on Saturday, July 27th.

You are encouraged to register for a Camp Package and book your hotel room as soon as possible. Although you will have to pay for your Camp Package in full  at the time of registration, you will not incur charges for your hotel reservation until your actual stay. The DEADLINE for registration is Friday, June 21st but the blocked off USAF discounted hotel rooms may be fully occupied prior to the deadline. Information about purchasing day fees can be found through the registration link below.

Each year, the USAF allots scholarships to 10 recipients for the aikido-portion of camp.  We need your help in insuring that all USAF members are aware of this opportunity, and encourage you to share the information with all members at your dojo. The application and information can be found here: Scholarship Application (deadline was April 30th)
Our on-line site provides an easy registration process, and allows you to register more than one person at a time and complete your payment without leaving the site.
For more information and to proceed with your registration, click here:
We look forward to seeing you at camp!


USAF launches Youtube page!

We are excited to announce the launching of our official USAF YouTube channel! Past and future summer camp videos will be posted here, for free access to the aikido community and the general public.

2018 was the first camp where the footage was created for an internet presence, rather than a DVD. We will continue to explore how to best present our classes in this new format, and look forward to sharing the excellent instruction provided at our summer camps with aikidoka around the world.

Check out our page here and don’t forget to subscribe! Any help spreading the news would be appreciated!





Most Influential Person

My mentor is Sensei Faust who is my Aikido teacher. He is a 7th Dan black belt (Shihan), and he is one of the top ranked people in the world. He is also the very top ranked African-American Aikidoist in the United States Aikido Federation. He even holds rank in Karate, Kung Fu, and Tae Kwon Do. He has trained and taught here and in Japan. He teaches in clubs at RPI, he teaches home-schoolers, and he teaches at youth charities. He is also a veteran. He has inspired me by being the most accomplished person I know and made me want to try to get a rank higher than his and learn as much as I can.

When I first started it was for fun because I was only 5 or 6, but now I practice to learn to defend myself. He is hard on everyone in his class but he always makes sure we get it right. He is extremely persistent and never stops practicing himself. Learning Aikido under him taught me how to commit to something. I have been doing Aikido for 8 years now and am 5th kyu, meaning I am 5 tests away from black belt. I am one of the only two people to go through the entirety of the children’s class and graduate to the adult class. Everybody else either dropped out or stayed in the children’s class. Me and the other person are also the only kids in the adult class. Usually people at my rank are in their 30s-40s. I owe this entirely to my dad and Sensei Faust. He has been practicing so long it can be measured in decades. More than four to be exact. Plus, he is a part of the direct teaching lineage of the inventor of Aikido.

I recently tested for 5th kyu and made it through with a combination of his and my dad’s teaching and encouragement. When I was 6th kyu (the numbers go down as you get higher rank) he made sure that I worked on all of the techniques until I got them all to a degree where they wouldn’t be forgotten after the test. I am currently working towards 4th kyu and plan to get to black belt within the next few years. I will be a role model in the future by taking on some of Sensei’s traits. I will also teach at the dojo, hopefully with others I know. I will teach in a way that people will learn and remember to defend themselves. I will pass on his persistence to others. I will make sure I don’t stop practicing until I can’t anymore. I will also take these traits into my regular life. I know that he will definitely leave a permanent effect on my life and many others of multiple generations.

Nahjiim Engram

Albany Aikido

USAF Summer Camp 2019 Is Gearing up!

Save the date, stay alert, stay posted, and stay tuned. Information about registration will follow soon.

Another USAF summer camp not to be missed!

View flyer by clicking here

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