Message from the USAF Board of Directors

Dear USAF Instructors:
This past weekend the USAF Board of Directors held its annual meeting at Florida Aikikai’s winter camp. During our meeting we discussed a petition on gender equity which had been posted on Facebook and otherwise circulated by a Coalition of women in Aikido. We also discussed a related proposal from another group interested in advancing diversity and equity and ways to grow and strengthen the USAF.
The Board is fully committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the USAF. Based on our own deliberations and several constructive recommendations we have received, we will be implementing a series of changes, starting with the creation of a Working Group to explore gender and equity issues. This Working Group will include one or more Board members and one or more Technical Committee members, along with other USAF members. We will be providing greater detail in the forthcoming letter from the Board Chair sharing the outcomes of the Board meeting.
According to our Code of Conduct, “all members are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively on the USAF and Aikido.” While we are excited about the actions we will be taking to advance equity and inclusion, we are disappointed by the Coalition’s divisive behaviors, especially on social media, which have included public attacks on the USAF, its Board and Yamada Sensei. As such, we have notified the coalition that we will only work with USAF members in good standing who share our goals of promoting gender equity in an honorable, transparent and mutually respectful manner.
We want all USAF members to know we are grateful to Yamada Sensei for the organization he has created and built. Furthermore, the Board fully supports Yamada Sensei and has complete confidence in his leadership now and going forward.
Respectfully,
The USAF Board of Directors

A Statement from the USAF Board of Directors 10-3-2019

On September 14th, a petition titled “Support Women in the United States Aikido Federation” was posted on Facebook by the USAF Women’s Coalition, now renamed Independent Coalition of USAF Women (Coalition). This is an independent group not sanctioned by the USAF. The petition has also been circulated through various social media platforms, emails, texts, private contacts, etc. The Board first learned of this petition through Facebook and was not given the opportunity to speak to the Coalition prior to the petition being circulated through social media. To this date, the Board has not received the formal petition from the Coalition.

As stated on the USAF’s website: “The USAF does not advocate, support, or practice unlawful discrimination based on age, ethnicity, gender, national origin, disability, race, size, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic background.”

The USAF is a rank-based organization with a structure that supports teacher-student relationships, longevity, and seniority. However, equality is expected in our behavior with one another as human beings, both on and off the mat.

Due to the nature of social media, we are aware there are many rumors and inaccurate statements being circulated. The Board feels it is important at this time to clarify some USAF policies and procedures and to address the actions the petition seeks from the USAF, as outlined below.

          A. Recognition that gender equity is a valid issue that needs exploration in the USAF through a Gender Equity Task Force.

The USAF takes violations of the USAF Code of Conduct (CoC), including acts of discrimination, very seriously. The CoC and Membership Regulations are posted on in the USAF newsletter  www.usafaikidonews.com. Recognition and acceptance of the CoC and all USAF Policies are requirements for the annual renewal process of Chief Instructors and their dojos. The CoC sets forth a notification process for grievances or concerns that take place within one’s dojo, or in the USAF community at large.

          B. Representation in USAF structures as well as USAF activities/seminars at least proportional to member population.

With respect to structure, governance of the USAF is through its Board of Directors, the Technical Committee and Yamada Sensei as USAF Technical Advisor. Day-to-day operations are handled by the Director of Operations. The USAF is a not-for-profit corporation made up of member dojos. Membership in the USAF is voluntary and in accordance with the USAF Membership Regulations and other USAF policies. The USAF, among other things:

  • (i) provides its membership a pathway to attain Aikikai dan ranks;
  • (ii) preserves our lineage to our teachers; and
  • (iii) encourages excellence in its standards of instruction, practice and promotions

In addition, the Board and the Director of Operations have been diligently working over the past few years to provide transparency through various communications and at instructors’ meetings (e.g., at Summer Camp). The USAF also offers administrative support to Chief Instructors and dojo administrators, including platforms for information and communication.

Most importantly, the Board would like to emphasize that at its essence the USAF is a community of long-standing friends, teachers and students who love the art of aikido and spending time together, both on and off the mat.

Regarding gender equity as it pertains to USAF structure, please note:

  • The Director of Operations and Assistant to the Director are women.
  • The only event organized by the USAF, the USAF Summer Camp, is run solely by women.
  • The Treasurer of the Board of Directors is a woman, and a woman has mostly held that position for over a decade.
  • Prior to the current Secretary, the Secretary of the Board was held by women for many years.
  • An advisor to the Board is a woman who also had previously been a Board member for many years.
  • There have always been 1-3 women on the Board.
  • Other than Yamada Sensei, the only people with direct relationships with Hombu Dojo for all USAF official business are women.
  • Technical Committee will be addressed below.

activities/seminars:

USAF CAMP: USAF Summer Camp is the only seminar/camp organized and run but the USAF. We are privileged to have Yamada Sensei and Osawa Sensei teach throughout the week in addition to classes taught by the Technical Committee. There are very few classes available beyond these Shihans’ classes in proportion to the number of Chief Instructors and higher ranked instructors who attend camp. Yamada Sensei tries his best to distribute the remaining classes in a fair way from year to year. 

Here is a breakdown of classes from 2019 Summer Camp:

# TOTAL CLASSES REMAINING After Yamada Sensei, Osawa Sensei, TC      19
# TAUGHT BY MEN      14    73.68%
# TAUGHT BY WOMEN      5    26.32%

50% of 6th dan women and 25% of 6th dan men attending camp were given classes. (Note – Approximately 14% of all USAF dojos are run by women.)

Seminars: In the same way that the USAF does not interfere with the internal running of a dojo, it does not participate in a dojo’s decision to host a seminar or special class. An invitation to teach is at the sole discretion of the host dojo. This is often decided based on friendships, student-teacher relationships, convenience, budgetary considerations, or any number of factors, all of which are at the sole purview of the host dojo. The USAF only involves itself in seminars when the host dojo or invited instructors are not USAF members. The USAF does its best to notify dojos when there may be a scheduling conflict due to dates or proximity.

          C.  Removal of barriers to the advancement of women, at all levels of practice.

With respect to advancement, all USAF dojos are run autonomously and independently. Membership in the USAF requires compliance with our guidelines, including testing requirements, code of conduct, membership regulations etc.

Yamada Sensei oversees New Year’s promotions for Chief Instructors. Neither the USAF nor Yamada Sensei reviews the rank status of members within a dojo; it is the sole responsibility of the Chief Instructors to promote their students in their own dojo.

          D. A change in the Technical Committee structure to include women on the Technical Committee.

The Technical Committee is a Committee of the USAF and is required for Aikikai affiliation. As the USAF founding Shihan were contemporaries who came to the United States to spread aikido, our current TC was formed on the same premise. These are the close students of the Shihan who arrived from Japan, those who followed them and learned from them for decades and therefore bring technical and personal maturity to the USAF. The were chosen by Yamada Sensei. Their history and experience are important for maintaining the lineage of those who came before us.

TC members must be 7th dan. However, this does not mean that all 7th dans will be considered for the TC.

Promotion to 7th dan requires the following:

7th dan: Aikikai regulations require a minimum of 12 years from 6th dan to qualify for 7th dan. Yamada Sensei must travel to Japan to meet with Doshu personally to present 7th dan candidates. This rank is not given freely, and may not be granted immediately after 12 years.

At this time, there are no women who are active members of the USAF who are 7th dan.

          E. Transparency, including publication of statistics about gender in the USAF.

The USAF administration does its best to provide information to Chief Instructors. The Board does not have statistics to share, nor do we feel that gender specific information helps create a full understanding of the diverse population of our community. We do not know who is active, who has joined, or who has left a dojo on any given day. As an organization of independent dojos with different demographics, locations, schedules, fees, etc., the composition of a dojo is based on a number of variables.

While positive exchanges are encouraged amongst members regarding their experiences practicing and teaching aikido, the USAF does not have, does not collect, nor does it intend to collect information regarding members within each individual USAF dojo. We appreciate our diverse membership and all they bring to our community.

We thank those who commit their time and energy to the practice of aikido.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

 

 

Shodan

  • 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

Nidan

  • 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

Sandan

  • Stanley Mitchell – Peachtree Aikikai Atlanta

Yondan

  • 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

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.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: DAN TESTING WILL BE HELD MID-WEEK (WEDNESDAY). IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON TESTING AT CAMP, MAKE SURE YOU BOOK YOUR PACKAGE ACCORDINGLY. TESTING AT CAMP FOR DAN RANK REQUIRES AT LEAST 1/2 WEEK CAMP ATTENDANCE.
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!

 

 

 

 

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

How to Make a Donation to the USAF

Dear Aikido Community,

As the year comes to an end, we wanted remind you that 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 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

Dan Promotions Mailed to Aikikai January 1 – August 18th, 2018

Test applications mailed to Aikikai Hombu Dojo between January 1st 2018 and August 18th, 2018 (some listings represent applications prior to Hombu approval)

 

Shodan

  • Randy Abramowitz – Suffolk Aikikai
  • David Beyea – Ottawa Aikikai
  • Peter Chafe – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Brian Chilton – Portland Aikikai
  • Alexander Fuentes Corrales – Aikido Curacao
  • Brian Cox – Albany Aikido
  • Bryn Davies – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Larry Dobbs – West Georgia Aikikai
  • Brent Goodroe – Aikido of Charlotte
  • Raul Gutierrez – Midwest Aikido Center
  • Oliver Hauser – Harvard Aikikai
  • David Hill – Fudoshin Aikikai
  • Steve Kampton – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Mardi Kidwell – Portsmouth Aikido
  • Sally Kiebdaj – Harvard Aikikai
  • Alon Koppel – Woodstock Aikido
  • James Liao – Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Robert Loftin – Plano Aikido Center
  • Sarah Lowe – Aikido of Denton
  • Joseph Marengi – Aikido of Austin
  • Andrew Melnick – New Castle Aikikai
  • John Moore – Savannah Aikikai
  • Kristen Muller – Aikido of New Paltz
  • Rachel Narowlansky – Notting Hill Aikikai
  • Jennifer Owczarek – PAPA Aikido USA
  • Steve Owczarek – PAPA Aikido USA
  • Chris Poon – Aikido North Jersey
  • Evan Price – Raleigh Aikikai
  • Raghu Rau – San Francisco Aikikai
  • Yannick Riezman – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Bachar Rifai – Plano Aikido Center
  • Dwight Sparks – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Philippe St. Onge – McGill Aikido
  • Clarence Tyler Stevens – Aikido North Jersey
  • Jeffrey Tanner – New Castle Aikikai
  • Aaron Targonski – Glen Ellyn Aikido Club
  • Theresa Tauscher – Aikido of Chester County
  • Chelsea Tengrove – Boston Aikikai
  • John Thompson – Aikido of Denton
  • Charles Thomsen – Davis Aikikai
  • Ross Tompkins – Open Sky Aikikai
  • Anthony Vegelante – Shodokan
  • Richard Westcott – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Tony Willeford – Aikido of Denton

Nidan

  • Richard Arbas – Aikido North Jersey
  • Jared Burke – Maru Aikikai South
  • Manuel de Joya – Midwest Aikido Center
  • Parviz Ghahramani – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Wini Hamilton – Seattle Aikikai
  • Christopher Knight – Shodokan
  • Edward Lin – New York Aikikai
  • Marco Llamazares – Ottawa Aikikai
  • Roselyn Maynard – Notting Hill Aikikai
  • Shailendra Pradham – Central Illinois Aikikai
  • W Charles Pyke – Aikido of Dallas
  • Kym Salameh – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Abel Samiky – Toronto Aikikai
  • Julio Soares – Central Illinois Aikikai
  • Gabriel Szraibman – Aikido de la Montagne

Sandan

  • Crystal Aldrich – Aikido North Jersey
  • Joshua Blake – Framingham Aikikai
  • Liliane Bourgouin – Aikido de la Montagne
  • George Faulkner – Aikido of Ashland
  • Neal Alexander Harrison – Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Gerry Heckler – New Castle Aikikai
  • Arthur Hoffman – Albany Aikido
  • John Kivlehan – Summit View Aikido
  • David Janacone – New Castle Aikikai
  • Khalid Laraki – Aikido of Chester County
  • Steven Lasher – Aikido of Central New York
  • Pamela Moschioni – Aikido of Dallas
  • Thomas Myron – Maru Aikikai South
  • Christopher Niskala – Framingham Aikikai
  • Ross Setlow – Albany Aikido
  • Slawomir Swierzbinski – Toronto Aikikai

Yondan

  • Joao Alcantara – Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Christopher Bradow – Long Island Aikikai
  • Michael Lum – Aikido of Houston
  • Joanne Recca – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Steve Sandage – San Francisco Aikikai
  • Janice Taitel – Aikido Center of Dover
  • Tommy Lee White – Skylands Aikikai
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