2017 – USAF At A Glance

We would like to share with you our 2017 year-end report that was circulated to USAF Chief Instructors.  The formatting is for a trifold brochure, so please take that into consideration when you review the content.  We hope you find it informative and wish you a wonderful 2018.

               2017 Year At A Glance


New Year’s Recommendations 1-1-2018

The following list comprises the 2018 New Year’s recommendations for 5th dan and above, and Shihan.


The recently posted list on Aikikai Foundation’s website can be found here: Kagamibiraki Grading 2018


  • Maite Azcoitia – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Renee Bean – Chushin Aikido Center
  • Driss Benmoussa – Aikido of Park Slope
  • Luis Javier Burghi – Aikido of Park Slope
  • Christy Calder – Aikido of Santa Barbara
  • Anthony Chong – Aikido Curacao
  • Michael Clair – Fudoshin Aikikai
  • Sean Conley – Martha’s Vineyard Aikido Club
  • Tim Cooper – Albany Aikido
  • Jerome Curiale – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Thomas Davis – Peachtree Aikikai
  • Byron Eddy – Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • Wendall Gault – Aikido of Park Slope
  • Philip Gendrault – San Francisco Aikikai
  • Paul Glavine – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Walter Gonzalez – New York Aikikai
  • Colleen Hogan – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Michel Hovan – Granite State Aikido Club
  • Richard Morrison – Center Island Aikido
  • Oleg Polishevich – Aikido of Park Slope
  • David Ross – New York Aikikai
  • James Shell – Aberdeen Maryland Aikikai
  • Michael Terruso – Vineland Aikikai
  • Aristedes Stamatelakey – Southland Aikido
  • Alexandre Vieira – Skylands Aikikai
  • Giovani Villafane – Chiheisen Aikido
  • Mark Voohees – New York Aikikai
  • Gennadiy Zolotarov – Aikido of Park Slope


  • Elizabeth Albin – New York Aikikai
  • David Childers – North Coast Aikikai
  • Christopher Clark – Portland Aikido
  • Jaime de Jesus – Midwest Aikido Center
  • Motier Haskins – Fairfield Iowa Aikikai
  • Ayal Joshua – Miami Aikikai
  • Thomas Kelly – Midwest Aikido Center
  • Eiji Kurashige – North Chatham Aikido Club
  • Rock Lazo – Kenoshi Aikikai
  • Harry McCormick – Florida Aikikai
  • Susan Monroe – Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Kenneth Pletcher – Midwest Aikido Center
  • Wayne Sherman – Providence Aikikai
  • Jeff Shimonski – Florida Aikikai
  • James Soviero – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Jay Stallman – Peachtree Aikikai
  • G. Jeffrey Vernis – Palm Beach Aikikai
  • Naomi Wentworth – Midwest Aikido Center
  • Robert Whelan – Shodokan


  • Raymond Farinato – Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Irvin Faust – Albany Aikido
  • Dennis Meno – Suncoast Aikido
  • Edward Peteroy – USAF Academy Aikido Club
  • Gordon Sakamoto – Northern Virginia Aikikai
  • Darrell Tangman – Augusta Aikido Club


  • Josef Birdsong – Aikido of Austin
  • David Birt – Davis Aikikai
  • Glenn Brooks – Aikido of Scottsdale
  • Don Dickie – Ottawa Aikikai
  • Edmund Di Marco – Lake County Aikikai
  • Chester Griffin – Long Beach Island Aikikai
  • Eugene Monteleone – Suffolk Aikikai
  • Laura Jacobs Pavlick – Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • Gentil Pennewaert – Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Gustavos Ramos – Miami Aikikai
  • Eliot Rifkin – Miami Aikikai
  • William Xavier Staub – Waianae Coast Aikido
  • Geraldine Tremblay – Waianae Coast Aikido
  • Art Wise – Evanston Aikido Center


Aikido of Scottsdale, Arizona Opens New Dojo

Aikido of Scottsdale and Glenn Brooks Sensei have yet another reason to celebrate. Just coming off the heels of their 20th anniversary this past year, they are now announcing the relocation and opening of their stunning new dojo. Designed and built by its wonderful members, construction took over 3 months to complete and at nearly 4,000 square feet, it is the largest Aikido dojo in Arizona.

“Every detail was meticulously thought out, designed and created” states Brooks. “From the custom made sliding shoji doors and 20-foot long oak Kamiza to the bamboo flooring, concealed hinged doorways and satin-chrome hardware accents throughout. It’s a beautiful blending of traditional and modern Japanese design”.

Perfectly located in one of Scottsdale’s most popular outdoor destinations, hosting movie theaters, multiple restaurants, bars, ice cream shops and more. Foot-traffic of all ages is plentiful day and night. Aikido of Scottsdale is open 7 days/week and offers children, youth and adult classes.

They cordially invite all Aikidoist to their upcoming 1 year anniversary seminar February 16-18, 2018.

Special guest instructor will be Rado Marinov Sensei, Chief Instructor, Aikido Shiyukan Federation of Bulgaria. They are directly affiliated with Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Rado Sensei teaches seminars regularly throughout Eastern Europe and Japan. This will be his first seminar in the United States.

Please visit Aikido of Scottsdale website for more information; www.AikidoofScottsdale.com

USAF Testing Requirements Effective 8-1-2018

Effective August 1, 2018 new guidelines have been implemented regarding yondan promotions by recommendation:

    • Yondan: minimum 4 years after Sandan if a practical test is to be taken; minimum 5 years after Sandan if promotion is to be by recommendation. Yondan testing can only be done by a TC member.
    • Shodan, Nidan, Sandan: typically promotions to these ranks are not done by recommendation, unless there is a special case; all people are encouraged to take a practical test for these ranks, and recommendations should generally wait at least 1 year longer than if testing.  


Click Here To View ALL USAF Testing Requirements



Dan Promotions June 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017

Test applications mailed to Aikikai Hombu Dojo between June 1st 2017 and December 31st, 2017 (some listings represent applications prior to Hombu approval)




  • Cesar Balda- Water Oak Aikikai
  • Jodi Ann Bocco –  Aikido of Red Banks
  • Thomas Brazil – Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Benjamin Conroy – Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • George DeMeglio – Peachtree Aikikai
  • Adam Di Angelo – Aikido of Red Banks
  • Erik Dutton- Water Oak Aikikai
  • Steven Ehlen – Center Island Aikido
  • Leandro Estrada – Peachtree Aikikai
  • Eric Fernandez – NY Eastside Aikikai
  • Denis Fitzgerald – Evanston Aikido Center
  • Robert Flynn – Aikido of Red Banks
  • Derek Foster – Portland Aikikai
  • Maiko Frabosilio – Aikido of Dallas
  • Clint Harper – Peachtree Aikikai
  • Kenneth Harris – Aikikai of Philadelphia
  • Smith Holt – Austin Aikikai
  • Eduardo Holzer-Torres – Northern Virginia Aikikai
  • Lance Hublick – Okolana Aikikai
  • Ray Kilby – Asheville Aikikai
  • Robert Knudsen – Aikido of Westchester
  • Jason Koonce – Heaven and Earth Aikido
  • John Koize – Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Stan Lumish – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Ricardo Manzo – Florida Aikikai
  • Caitlyn McLuskie – Water Oak Aikikai
  • Mark Miller- Evanston Aikido Center
  • Claude Patrick Louvouezo – Portland Aikikai
  • Daniel Martincic – North Coast Aikikai
  • Mark Pit – Florida Aikikai
  • Muhammad Rasheed – New York Aikikai
  • Robert Reiss – Aikido of Ramapo Valley
  • Robert Schwartz – New York Aikikai
  • Luc Senatus – Dairyukai Aikikai
  • Ryan Stephens – Aikido of Ramapo Valley
  • Michelle Tanigaki – Aikido of Ramapo Valley
  • Kalah Thompson – Aikido of Denton
  • Thomas Vangi – Long Beach Island Aikikai


  • Omar Morales Andara – Florida Aikikai
  • David Buhner – Asheville Aikikai
  • Javier Calduch – Florida Aikikai
  • Luc Carey – Montreal Aikikai
  • Thomas Carlucci – Skylands Aikikai
  • Nicholas DeLillo Jr. – Aikido of Westchester
  • Arthur DiRocco – Portland Aikido
  • Diana Edenburg – Florida Aikikai
  • Edward Estrada – Water Oak Aikikai
  • Eric Evenson – Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Joseph Giardina – Aikido of Westchester
  • Lawrence Hambrick – Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Joe Heim – Kenosha Aikikai
  • Scott Fecteau – Lewiston Aikido/Willow
  • Yoshi Fujiwara – Midwest Aikido Center
  • James Gauthier – Portland Aikido
  • Christopher Grimes – North Chatham Aikido
  • David Grimes – North Chatham Aikido
  • Robert Gutierrez- Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Siavash Haghtalab – New York Aikikai
  • James Heggernes- Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Jackson Jarvis – Fairfield Iowa Aikikai
  • Avery Jenkins – Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • Shella Keiholz – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Crystal Kanesaka – New York Aikikai
  • John Lawson – Suffolk Aikikai
  • Jason Martell – Lunenburg Aikikai
  • John Maya – New York Aikikai
  • Nicholas Mills – Lunenburg Aikikai
  • Stuart Pieloch – Aikido of Scottsdale
  • Juan Pinheiros – City Aikido of Los Angeles
  • Bruce Piotrowski- Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Clark Pomerleau – Aikido of Denton
  • James Reed-Jones – Aikido of Prince Edward Island
  • Rey Robles – Southern Maryland Aikikdo
  • Abel Ruiz-Diaz – Miami Aikikai
  • Andres Samoya – New York Aikikai
  • Monica Sasaki – Florida Aikikai
  • Christopher Scales – Long Beach Island Aikikai
  • Victoria Selep- Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Robert Sinka – Aikido North Jersey
  • Takara Suzuki – Portland Aikikai
  • Jay Tall – Aikido of Park Slope
  • Louis Torres – Palm Beach Aikikai
  • John Tuohy – Northern Virginia Aikikai
  • Howard Weitzman – Long Island Aikikai
  • Jonathan Winterling – Aikido of Chester County
  • Christi Wise – Evanston Aikido Center
  • Marina Yeravinkina – New York Aikikai
  • Mario Zilio – Florida Aikikai



  • Samiran Banerjee – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Nicholas Benfaremo – Portland Aikido
  • David Breniak – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Isabel De La Vega – Florida Aikikai
  • Patrick Dougherty – Aikido of Westchester
  • Diane Dubois – Lewiston Aikido/Willow
  • Charles Ellis – Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Robert Groce – Aikido of Westchester
  • Carlton Harris – Aikikai of Philadelphia
  • Sherwin Heath-Retemyer – New York Aikikai
  • Jennifer Henis – New York Aikikai
  • Richmond Johnson – Aikido of New Paltz
  • Will Kirkpatrick – Monadnock Aikikai
  • Michael Klamer – New York Aikikai
  • Jason Lambert – McGill Aikido
  • Mario Lantandresse – Montreal Aikikai
  • Reuven Lirov – Pinellas County Aikikai
  • Eric Lopresti – New York Aikikai
  • Edgar Martinez – Miami Aikikai
  • Michael Napoli – Portland Aikikai
  • Thomas Newcomen – New York Aikikai
  • Kathleen O’Neill – Northern Virginia Aikikai
  • Matthew Roder – Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Elly Roland – Northern Virginia Aikikai
  • Howard Scott – Montreal Aikikai
  • Samantha Taitel – New York Aikikai
  • Matthew Wavro – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Andrei Yamshchikov – Florida Aikikai


  • Suliman Abdul Hakeem – Aikido of Greater Philadelphia
  • Robert Bergman – Regent Park Community Aikido
  • James Brumm – Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Michael Cundall – Aikido fo Cincinnati
  • Francisco De Los Cobos – Aikido of Dallas
  • John Donnelly – Boston Aikikai
  • Charles Dubois – Aikido de la Montagne
  • David Gardener – Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • John Holt – Aikikai of Philadelphia
  • Tom Ito – Southland Aikido
  • Roderick Johnson – Aikikai of Philadelphia
  • Michael Jones – Roaring Fork Aikikai
  • Christopher Kerin – Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Michael Livingston – Center Island Aikido
  • Daryl Muranaka – Harvard Aikikai
  • Clemon Richardson – Aikido of Park Slope
  • Steve Sandage – San Francisco Aikikai
  • James Shaffer – Long Beach Island Aikikai
  • Edgar Shockley – Aikikai of Philadelphia
  • Tinka Sloss – Aikido of Santa Barbara
  • Rick Watson – Portland Aikikai
  • Krzysztof Zawadzki – Aikido of Fairfield County



Wishing You A Happy New Year

Once again, as I take a moment to look back at the year, I feel so lucky to be in good health and have the support of so many people in the USAF and around the world.  I have traveled to so many seminars and continue to receive such a warm welcome.  This of course inspires me to give as much as I possibly can to everyone on the mat, to show my appreciation for everyone who makes an effort to come and practice at these seminars.

I also know there are many people who can not attend seminars that often, but who show their dedication to their home dojo and their instructor.  I hope everyone will continue to focus on their practice in a sincere way, and that we all look to grow in our aikido techniques, our budo principals, and our kindness towards each other as human beings in the year ahead.

All my best wishes for a wonderful new year.

Y. Yamada

Introducing the USAF Donation Webpage

Dear Aikido Community,
The United States Aikido Federation (USAF) is constantly striving to do as much as possible for its members with the resources at hand. For those of you who are in a position to express your generosity and support by making a donation, the following link will bring you to our new donations page: usafaikidonews.com/donate-to-the-usaf/
Please feel free to pass this information on to other fellow aikidoka. As we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, all donations are 100% tax deductible. We would be grateful for any donations towards preserving the legacy of the USAF.
With warm regards,
The USAF Board of Directors

Training Partners in Aikido

Training Partners in Aikido are so much about the exchange. Over the years, from brand new student, beginner, advanced beginner, middle kyu, Shodan and so on…my understanding of what to look for as well as how to choose has developed in a similar fashion to my technique, skill and my teaching ability. The first thing I have learned is when I am training with my partner, I am doing exactly that, training. I am not teaching. I am guiding or being guided. I am focusing on the connection with my partner, the movement, their ability, skill, and flexibility. Since those are all my focus, then my focus is not talking, speaking, verbalizing, stopping my partner, correcting my partner, or harming my partner. I know most of the partners I choose at seminars. I know many of these things prior to starting the technique. Because of this choice, the outcome for a positive exchange is high. How do you get to that point? Well, first, time is very important. Training with many people and building an internal rolodex of what people feel like when they train is key. How do they take ukemi and how do they throw? Are they very muscle-like? Do they over-grip? Do they talk a lot on the mat or in line during groups? I have been and always will be a ‘people watcher’. I am always watching the instructor during the technique, I am watching his/her uke. I am trying to duplicate both techniques. It is not just my own interpretation or what I feel like working on in my technique. Each lesson is unique and a fundamental difference is in any given Aikido class, the lesson of the class is set by the class instructor. I think that’s why Aikido is so important to me and why my love for this art is so strong. It’s also a very fair art for you are only as good as your last technique. Each time, the goal is to make that next one better. Same with ukemi. Each fall, each attack – better. More sincere, more relaxed, better connection – harmony. Finally, etiquette, no talking. Each class, less talking, more practice. I am constantly trying to work on that detail at seminars, too.

by Jonathan Weiner

Aikido of Charlotte

Reflex Control In Aikido

An effective way of viewing Aikido is as a system of reflex control. Erik Riker and I have been studying reflex controls for the last few years. We first discovered structural reflexes by studying videos by Kanshu Sunadomari. I had been exposed to these earlier but did not understand how they worked. These are reflexes that organize our muscles so that our bodies can perform mechanically. These reflexes maintain a particular balance between muscles. We disrupt that balance. When the balance is disrupted Uke becomes weak. The Unbendable Arm exercise demonstrates this. In that exercise Nage disrupts Uke’s muscle balance in such a way that Uke’s body does not realize it is unbalanced and Uke becomes weak.

We normally use these muscle imbalances to cause Uke to fall down. In this case Uke’s body will sense the imbalance and quickly correct. Because of this the technique must be applied at normal reflex speed. In Aikido we cause a rotation about the vertical axis of the torso and/or an arm rotation along with extending Uke out and then dropping Uke. Video’s of everything discussed here are in my YouTube channel, Survival Aikido. For example when executing Kote Gaeshi Nage might tenkan beside Uke and then step back pulling Uke’s arm. This rotates Uke about a vertical axis. The slight forearm rotation increases the muscle imbalance and Uke’s arm is slightly extended. Then Uke’s hand is taken to the floor causing Uke to fall. Done properly pain is not a factor. If pain is involved then Nage cannot determine the effectiveness of the reflex control.

We discovered the second reflex control in a different way. Much of our practice is with padded training weapons, particularly knives. Uke attacks with commitment and really tries to touch Nage with the training knife. This type training is too dangerous with a wooden tool so the padded tools are necessary. We determined that just pivoting out of the way as done in basic Aikido would not reliably prevent Nage from getting stabbed. This was true even when Uke did not know to which side Nage would move or what Nage would do.

The basic Irimi exercise where Uke raises the boken and attacks with Shomen Uchi while Nage enters with Tsuki has always bothered me. I reasoned that if Shomen Uchi can be so easily defeated then no one could use it. In spite of this Shomen Uchi has been used for thousands of years. I wanted to know the counter to Irimi. I found a video of Saito countering Irimi by raising his boken and then pivoting out of the way of the Tsuki. I thought this was phony because our experience was that pivoting out of the way would not work if Uke was alert. We tried the pivot as Saito had done and it did work. We knew we had just discovered something very important and started trying to understand what was happening.

A few months later a friend gave me the book, “Systema, No Contact Combat” by Vartan Mamiko, that explained the reflex. Humans have a grasping reflex. When we reach for something or strike at something a reflex takes over to complete the task and we lose most conscious control. This is a very primitive reflex that may be present in every species. Even the most primitive. This is why a bull fighter can redirect the bull to follow the cape rather than the matador’s body. The swordsman’s pivot works because the raised sword draws Nage’s attention and the Tsuki does not follow Uke’s body. O’Sensei shows this repeatedly in demonstrations. No Contact Systema uses this principle in a different way from O’Sensei. I think O’Sensei discovered this reflex as a general principle and it is a basis of his Aikido.

This is not fundamentally different than leading Uke when Uke reaches for Nage’s wrist. When Uke strikes at Nage with Tsuki, if Nage’s hand can grab Uke’s attention, then Nage can get the strike to follow Nage’s hand rather than Nage’s body. Now Nage is a Matador.

There are fairly strict requirements that must be met to get this to work. It is easy to do something that looks like the right thing but not get the necessary effect. This principle works best when Nage moves as Uke is at the distance we normally practice. Where Uke’s and Nage’s weapons do not quite touch. Once this principle is applied the basic Aikido exercises that seemed so impossible start working. The further we have gone with this the more convinced we have become that the exercises chosen for Aikido are mostly exercises that teach these reflex or mind control principles.

Controlling the reaching reflex is useful for circular attacks and grabbing attacks as well as Tsuki. If is much less interesting where Uke reaches for a wrist if Nage does not redirect the attack. For this reason those attacks do not show the tremendous power of the method. It is important to realize that until Uke attacks there is no reaching reflex to control. If Uke just stands there and does not strike there is nothing to lead. It is also important to note that once the punch finishes the reflex turns off and the mind control ends. A good Uke will then continue with another attack unless Nage has established another control. It should also be noted that controlling the striking reflex also breaks Uke’s structure activating the structural reflexes to Nage’s advantage.

The third category of reflexes that are important are defensive reflexes. We have experimented extensively with the startle reflex. In the startle reflex Nage threatens Uke. This causes Uke to take defensive action that Nage can use against Uke. This also disrupts Uke’s structure. We find the defensive reflexes most useful in freestyle when we are close to Uke. This would be more like a Karate fighting distance. This happens frequently because the second Uke tries to get Nage while the first Uke is being thrown.

Controlling both the striking and defending reflexes involves getting Uke’s attention so both involve reaching towards Uke’s face. This means that Nage can always start the same way giving the same initial response. The three reflexes discussed here are fundamental to the Aikido practiced by O’Sensei. Once aware of the reflex controls it is obvious what O’Sensei is doing. There are other reflexes we are studying but these give a good start to learning reflex control. Controlling these reflexes makes Aikido an exercise in mind control.

by John Kilpatrick, Okolona Aikido

Harvey Konigsberg Sensei Offers His Artwork Online

Harvey Konigsberg was born in New York City in 1940. He studied painting at New York University and the University of Miami. In 1965, he began studying Aikido with Yamada Sensei at the New York Aikikai. He devoted himself equally to the disciplines of painting and Aikido. In 1987, he founded Woodstock Aikido and continues to serve as chief instructor. He is currently a seventh degree black belt and a Shihan, master instructor. Over the years, his paintings have been exhibited in 22 one-man shows in New York City and in numerous national exhibitions. Hand-signed, limited edition archival prints, as well as t-shirts featuring his aikido art work, are available for sale at his online store, https://harvey-konigsberg-art.myshopify.com.

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