Aikido of Suffolk Aikikai’s New Location

After spending 14 years in the same location in the Village of Patchogue,
NY, Aikido at Suffolk Aikikai has moved to a new comfortable location in
Medford, New York. The space is air conditioned and provides plenty of
parking.  The move coincides with the celebration of Suffolk Aikikai’s 20th
anniversary on August 6, 2014.





San Juan Aikikai’s New Location

San Juan Aikikai has moved to a new location.  The large bright windows blanket the tatami and reflect sunlight on the shomen’s clean sharp lines.  Stop by and visit this beautiful dojo at: 1220 Calle Cadiz, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00920.



Fairfield Iowa Aikikai hosts its 2nd Annual Aikido Youth Camp

As Fairfield Iowa Aikikai’s youth program continues to grow, June’s successful testing and promotions brought smiles to many faces.

August brings Fairfield Iowa Aikikai’s 2nd Annual Youth Camp


It Has To Be Felt

It has to be felt.

How many students felt the dynamic power? Have you experienced the exhilaration, fear, uncertainty, excitement as the dynamic circle sends you spinning to the conclusion of the technique? The uke may not fully know how it will end, but for sure they are fully engaged and dare not lose the connection. Those who have had this happen will say to you, it has to be experienced; it’s active, not passive. You have to make contact and stay committed. If you give up that commitment, the interaction changes in a single moment. We love our videos; it gives us a reference point. It gives us something to observe, but it’s passive. Ultimately, we must physically delve into the depths of the movement. We have to engage physically. It’s in that interaction, the ‘doing’ where we feel what happens and it becomes a part of us.

USAF President Emeritus, one of the first members of the New York Aikikai (NYA) and current Sensei, Mike Abrams, explains that it’s important for students to feel the instructor’s technique. He’s an open history book.  Sensei Abrams is another living legend, who explains the importance of what Yamada Shihan and his contemporaries did with the NYA. Sensei Abrams’ class takes you back to the foundations of training at the NYA; he speaks of the ukemi that Sensei Yamada took for his sempai. You get a picture of it in your mind, while listening. In Sensei Abrams class, when he asks you to grab him, one may do so in a rather naïve, unsuspecting manner. One may wonder what is coming next, but as soon as he begins to move you become immediately clear that whatever happens will end with you on the mat, usually face down. Similarly, Harvey Konigsberg Shihan will point to the connection between his hand and his hip movement. He will then explain it to you, in his low gravely voice. He may then say, “Grab” and you do. Then what you thought you understood goes flying out of your head, as quickly as you land on the mat. His disarming warmth and spiritual connection lull you into a feeling of smooth quiet and security. That is of course, until you feel his hip move and his weight drop while you get tossed. You get up, smiling, because your body gets this “turning on the light bulb” moment of comprehension. And ultimately, when Shihan Yamada says, “grab”, undoubtedly, healthy concern goes through uke’s mind from inception. You know his movement is big, powerful and direct. Some uke have explained that when they take ukemi for Yamada Shihan, they feel like their bodies are going in separate directions at the same time. For example, during one class, Yamada Shihan seemed to be moving toward a particular irimi-nage opening, but it appeared that he changed his mind, so he picked the uke up, as though to do an aiki-otoshi. The entire class held it’s breath and watched with wide eyes, while the uke’s head turned from side to side, looking for the landing place (kind of like a fighter jet coming in for an emergency landing).

Then he let us all off the hook, as he said to the uke, with a chuckle, “don’t worry, I’m not going to do that.” Even as we enjoyed his humor in that moment, we were all taking ukemi, because we followed him intently. We were in sync with him and there was nothing between him and us. We released a collective sigh of relief for the uke, but more for ourselves, because for a moment, “things got real”. We felt the air swoosh, when he picked up and seemed to swing the uke around. We felt the distance between the uke high in the air, (with Sensei Yamada holding the uke underneath his arm pit), and the mat. We felt his joviality, but we simultaneously felt the seriousness of training, which I believe he wants us to understand. After class, in the locker rooms, we talked about that and kind of nodded at each other as if to acknowledge it in a single word, “Yeah”.

I suppose all of this is to reiterate, that is it has to be felt.


Dena Williams

New York Aikikai

Yamada Sensei and NYA Receive Letter From The Mayor

On Saturday, June 7th, the New York Aikikai hosted a large party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of  Yamada Sensei’s arrival in New York City. In acknowledgement of this historical event,  he was presented with a letter from William de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City.  A copy of the letter can be viewed by clicking here



Yamada Sensei Featured In Crain’s New York Business Magazine

On the eve of Yamada Sensei’s 50th anniversary of his arrival in New York City and the New York Aikikai, the June 2nd edition of Crain’s New York Business Magazine features a full-page interview with him entitled “Yamada Sensei is 76. What’s your excuse?” Written by one of Crain’s top reporters, Daniel Geiger, it features of full-color photo of Yamada Sensei and celebrates Yamada Sensei’s half-century of teaching throughout the United States and the world at large. You can access the full article here:

A Sad Loss of Albany Aikido

John Wright started his Aikido training in 1979. In addition to Faust Sensei his Aikido has been influenced by Yousef Mehter Sensei, Yamada Shihan, Kanai Shihan, Chiba Shihan and a host of other teachers to whom he is eternally grateful to for their encouraging him to try new ways of doing familiar techniques. John has also been involved in the Chinese martial arts Tai Chi, Bagua Chang and Hsing-i. His Aikido training has made him realize that conflict situations with others can generally best be handled by a non-confrontational approach – blending in Aikido parlance. Passing on this art has been a wonderful experience. John received his 4th Dan in 2006.

Special Project for NY Aikikai &Yamada Sensei’s 50th Anniversary

Dear Fellow Aikidoka

As you probably know, 2014 is a special year for the New York Aikikai and Yamada Sensei, celebrating the dojo’s 50th anniversary!

We are working on a special project for this celebration, and would like to ask for everybody’s help.

If you, or someone you know, visited the NYA dojo (or the anniversaries summer camps) along these years (1964-2014) and have interesting photos from your visit please email them to us in the highest quality you have. If you have many, you can send them in lower quality and we can ask for the ones we pick to be sent later at a higher resolution.

If you have older (none digital), printed photos and you are unable to scan them, let us know and we can help with that too.

Please send your photos to (or contact with any questions) Shai Golan

To be able to put this together in time for the summer celebrations we would appreciate it if you send us your photos ASAP or, by end of February at the latest.

Your help is greatly appreciated and we hope to see everybody at one of the many upcoming NYA 50th celebrations!


Shai Golan,

New York Aikikai

The Essence of Yamada Sensei

The Essence of Yamada Sensei is a short film of Yamada Sensei teaching at the 2013 USAF Winter Camp, November 8-9-10 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Filmed/Edited/Produced by Jonathan Weiner, 3rd Dan, Fukushidoin of Aikido of Charlotte.  To view, click here

To view similar videos produced by Jonathan Weiner,  click here

Aikido of Amarillo Conducts Its First Seminar

Aikido of Amarillo recently hosted its first seminar with T. K. Lee Sensei, 6th DAN from Aikido of Houston. The seminar allowed the students to gain instruction based on Lee Sensei’s 53 years of Aikido experience.

“We struggle with the same challenges every dojo has which operates out of a small, isolated community,” Scott Sensei explains. “Our dojo continues to build its core student base and this seminar offers the opportunity to see an instructor with over 50 years of training. For Lee Sensei to travel to Amarillo and teach us is a very special event.”

During the seminar Lee Sensei described the importance of dynamic body movement. He took the students through each movement step-by-step to emphasize a proper foundation. Points of teaching were to start a waza with strong beginning stance, execute large body movements leading to the application of the waza and then finish with solid stance. Lee Sensei’s teachings of a strong foundation relate to the Founder’s statement, ”In extreme situations, the entire universe becomes our foe; at such critical times, unity of mind and technique is essential – do not let your heart waver!”

Aikido of Amarillo has been in existence since 2005. This year’s Aikido seminar marks the initiation for future dojo events. Dojo-cho, Scott DeJesse, 3rd DAN is a direct student of Lee Sensei. Scott described the seminar as a proud moment for the dojo. The dojo was also happy to have the Midwest Aikido Federation affiliated dojo of Lubbock Aikido participate the Amarillo’s first seminar.

Scott states, “Without the support of T. K. Lee Sensei, the USAF and Amarillo College, there wouldn’t be an opportunity for the Amarillo community to train in the traditional style of Aikido. The Art is a true gift with many benefits for one’s mind, body and spirit. We look forward to the future and will continue to grow the dojo.”