Archives for January 2013


案ずるより産むが易し (Anzuru yori umu ga yasashi)

Literally: Giving birth to a baby is easier than worrying about it.
Meaning: Fear is greater than the danger. / An attempt is sometimes easier than expected.

I was talking to my son the other day and the conversation turned to the heroes.  He was impressed of how the characters displayed no fear.  So, we tried to define what exactly fear was.

Fear is a very strong emotion.  Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat.  It is a primal survival mechanism that occurs in response to a stimulus, such as pain or a threat of danger.  Our typical responses to fear can come in the form of confronting it, fleeing from it or freezing in its presence. Now that we know what fear is and our natural reactions to fear, how do we conquer our fears.  I pose these steps to conquering your fears.

  1. Analyze the fear.
  2. Gradually desensitize yourself to the fear.
  3. Look at how others face what you fear.
  4. Confront your fear directly.
  5. Always stay positive in your thoughts and actions.

In my Aikido experience, I have encountered a number of fears.  I’ve conquered most of them.  One example of this was my fear of taking ukemi from koshinages.  I analyzed my fear and acknowledged its presence.  I then made conscience efforts to face it directly.  I approached a trusted sensei after class one day and requested that they perform a koshinage technique on me so I can practice my ukemi.  It was not easy but by facing my fear I have conquered it.

My father raised me to observe the world around me.  Learn from what you see.  He would always say, “If others can do it, you can too”.  I keep my father’s words close to me as I continue to grow and learn.  My fellow Aikidoka, do not let your fears hold you back.

Rey Robles

Southern Maryland Aikido Center

Ninjabreadman Cookies

I thought some of the larger USAF family could appreciate this.  I have been given Ninjabreadmen cookie cutters by both an ex-girlfriend and my mom.  Over 20 years in Aikido, and these cookie cutters “were just so you John!”
I used a sugar cookie dough and not the gingerbread dough the box provided.  I took half of my cookie dough and put in black food colouring, then made the skirts and laid the uncooked cookie dough pieces on top of each other.  The baking instructions remained the same, and no icing was needed.  I think the cookies could also be half-dipped in dark chocolate then left on baker’s parchment to harden for a similar effect.  So, a perfect gift afterall.  Even if I’m not a ninja.
John Hillson
Open Sky Aikikai

MIT Aikido Seminar for Dick Stroud Shihan’s Birthday

Many New England regional dojos participated in a recent seminar celebrating Dick Stroud Shihan’s 80th birthday and his 40 + years commitment to aikido. He founded one of the oldest continually operating university dojos in the United States, over 30 years ago at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Thousands of students have trained with Stroud Shihan over the years and many have gone on to become talented yudansha around the world. Well-known for his strong martial style, Stroud Shihan continues to carry on the tradition and style of his teacher Kanai Shihan.
Over 50 people attended the one-day seminar, and we were honored to include Ray Farinato 6th dan Shidoin, from Aikido of Fairfield County, Matthew Bagadonow 5th dan from MIT Aikido, and Bob Whelan 5th dan from Shodokan.

Introducing Seattle Aikikai

Years ago, a dojo member introduced me to an end-of year Japanese ritual which is still commonly practiced in Japan called “Kuyou” — a farewell ritual for everyday objects. It is meant as a way to show gratitude for a common object or tool that is being retired–to thank it for it’s service instead of just throwing it in the trash. In early days these rituals were for things like calligraphy brushes, sewing needles and ceramics. Today in Japan it is more common to honor things such as eyeglasses, shoes or computers.

This new years, we held a Koyou ceremony to retire the old name of our dojo as we change to a new one. In gratitude to our old name, Puget Sound Aikikai I offer the following story.

Fifteen years ago, we locked the door of our new dojo in Seattle and swore that no one could leave until we came up with a dojo name that everyone was happy with. We were committed to being a community-run dojo and this type of group decision making was in alignment with our founding values. Fifty plus variations on every possible identifying landmark, aikido reference and native american symbolism were discussed and finally, after much debate, we decided on Puget Sound Aikikai. And for the past 15 years we’ve jumped into the body of water we’re named after every New Years Eve practice in hommage.Never mind that the rest of the country has no idea where Puget Sound is–let alone can’t pronounce it.

On our 15 year anniversary the dojo is thriving. We’ve grown from a small group of ronin aikido students to a professional school with a full time instructor and a healthy membership. On Yamada Sensei’s recommendation, we are taking this anniversary as an opportunity for a name change. This time there were no long group discussions. The choice was obvious.

Welcome to the new Seattle Aikikai.

Our new dojo name, Seattle Aikikai, has a long history with the USAF and as it had not been in use for over a decade, it seemed only fitting that, as the only USAF dojo in Seattle, we resurrect the name.

On our 15 year anniversary, we offer gratitude to our roots as we look to our future. Our new name recognizes the change from a founding collective of aikidoka to an established school that will have a legacy of providing Yamada Sensei’s lineage as a USAF dojo in Seatle for years to come.

Dan Promotions August 16th 2012 – December 15th, 2012

Test applications received and dated between August 16, 2012 and December 15, 2012 (some listings represent applications prior to Hombu approval).




  • Chloe Allen-Gorman – Portland Aikikai
  • Jesse Anttila-Hughes – New York Aikikai
  • Adam Benilous – Palm Beach Aikikai
  • David Breniak – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Mark Brodbeck – Peachtree Aikikai Atlanta
  • Gary Brosius – Aikido of Westchester
  • Sheila Cahilig – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Massimo Caiati – Aikido of Raritan Valley/Ren Sei Kan
  • Charles Calcagni – Aikido of Park Slope
  • James Curcurato – New York Aikikai
  • Carlos del Pino – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Nicholas Delillo – Aikido of Westchester
  • Peter Discenza – Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Thomas Espinoza – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Leonardo Giaccetti – Florida Aikikai
  • Joseph Giardina – Aikido of Westchester
  • Vijay Gondhalekar – Central Arkansas Aikikai
  • Russ Gorman – Portland Aikikai
  • Christopher Grimes – Chatham Aikido
  • David Grimes – Chatham Aikido
  • John Guise – Aikido of Red Bank
  • Michael Hemmingway – New York Aikikai
  • Jennifer Henis – New York Aikikai
  • Nasim Hurd – Portland Aikikai
  • Michael Kamler – New York Aikikai
  • Beata Ksel – Sadkane School for Aikido
  • Ricardo Leigh – New York Aikikai
  • Chad Lindsay – Minnesota Aikikai
  • Marcos Mendez – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Keith Miller – Aikido of Park Slope
  • Alexander Milton – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Veronica Navarro Ramirez – Peachtree Aikikai Atlanta
  • Joanna Oniszczuk – New York Aikikai
  • Amalia Maya Osuga – New York Aikikai
  • Denis Papathanasiou – Hoboken Aikikai
  • Juan Pinheiros – Florida Aikikai
  • Alexander Pitaluga – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Anna Piva – Miami Aikikai
  • Edward Ramos – Florida Aikikai
  • Pete Reilly – Aikido of Westchester
  • Alex Romao – New York Aikikai
  • Scott Rothstein – New York Aikikai
  • Patrick Scott – New York Aikikai
  • Olga Sen – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Stephanie Spiller – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • John Tuohy – Northern Virginia Aikikai
  • Robert Villamar – New York Aikikai
  • Alexandra Vinarov – New York Aikikai
  • Jose Webster – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Joseph Zinnes – Skylands Aikikai


  • Jonathan Aronson – Albany Aikido
  • Arjen Bikker – Aikido Curacao
  • Samuel Cano Zambrano –
  • Linda Cox – Albany Aikido
  • James DeFuria – Portland Aikikai
  • Jon Luca DiBenedetto – New York Aikikai
  • John Duke – Southernmost Aikikai
  • Stephen Fay – Kingston Aikido
  • Patrick Gaucher – Woodstock Aikido
  • Rose Cong – Albany Aikido
  • William Green – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Nelson Hayes – Aikido North Jersey
  • Arthur Hoffmann – Albany Aikido
  • Kevin Hopkins – Aikido of Park Slope
  • G.W. Hungerford – Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • Alice Hunnicutt – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Richmond Johnston – Aikido of New Paltz
  • Jeffrey Kishlock – Portland Aikikai
  • Gasper LaRocca – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Eric Lavigne – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Dya Levitt – MIT Aikido Club
  • Keith Lit – Florida Aikikai
  • Zhe Lu – MIT Aikido Club
  • Ledale Mahon – Central Arkansas Aikikai
  • Kenneth Muso – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Michael Napoli – Portland Aikikai
  • Pedro Nieto – Florida Aikikai
  • Amir Andrew Obeidy – Florida Aikikai
  • Kumiko Shirai – Portland Aikikai
  • Daniel Small – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Alexander Socia – Florida Aikikai
  • Yordan Sosa – Florida Aikikai
  • Gregory Stradtman – Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • Noel Tendick – Portland Aikikai
  • Marie Torrecampo – Long Beach Island Aikikai
  • Daphne Vassalotti – Vineland Aikikai
  • Roberto Velez – New York Aikikai


  • Walter Baker – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • James Davidson – New England Aikikai
  • A. Scott DeJesse – Aikido of Amarillo
  • Robert Dix – Springfield Aikido School
  • Ursula Donnelly – Suffolk Aikikai
  • Matthew Dykeman – North Shore Aikikai
  • Michael Jones – New York Aikikai
  • Peter Kalamaras – New York Aikikai
  • Kevin Kanesaka – New York Aikikai
  • Andrew Lee – New York Aikikai
  • Edward Leung – New York Aikikai
  • Dino Manca – Naka Ima Aikikai
  • Aaron Muhammad – Aikido School of Southwest Georgia
  • Angela Murphy – Alamo Height Aikido
  • Kristin Murray – Suffolk Aikikai
  • David Pena – Albany Aikido
  • William Pena – Nations Aikikai
  • Thorsten Pfeiffer – Aikido of Park Slope
  • Shabaka Ra’kaa – New York Aikikai
  • James Shaffer – Long Beach Island Aikikai
  • Michael Silverman – Asheville Aikikai
  • James Snyder – New York Aikikai
  • Mammen Thomas – Suffolk Aikikai
  • Joseph Vitulli – Aikido of Westchester
  • Cesar Volpi – Toronto Aikikai
  • Sahar Ziv – New York Aikikai


  • Maite Azcoitia – Gold Coast Aikikai
  • Gene Batan – Aikido of Fairfield County
  • John Chiarolanzio – Aikido of New Paltz
  • Lou Chukman – Midwest Aikido Center
  • John Byron Eddy – Litchfield Hills Aikikai
  • Brian Ericksen – New York Aikikai
  • John Irvin Hughes – Indian River Aikikai
  • David Kedney – Midwest Aikido Center
  • Jonathan Lilly – Puget Sound Aikikai
  • Ray McGovern – New England Aikikai
  • Richard Neville – Aikido of Ramapo Valley
  • Mark Reichert – Cornell Aikido Club
  • Andrew Small – Aikido Schools of New Jersey
  • Robert Vichnis – Aikido of Park Slope


Dan Promotions 4/16/2012 – 8/15/2012

Test applications received and dated between April 16, 2012 and August 15, 2012 (some listings represent applications prior to Hombu approval).




  • Minoru Akiyama – Aikido North Jersey
  • Matt Bourbon – Aikido of Denton
  • Lilianne Bourgouin – Aikido de la Montagne
  • David Breitman – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Abderrahim Brimelli – Aikido of Central new York
  • Thomas Carlucci – Skylands Aikikai
  • Elisabeth Carter – Jersey Shore Aikikai
  • Clayton Crawley – Nations Aikikai
  • Abelardo Cuevas Jr. – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Manuel DeJoya – Midwest Aikido Center
  • Noemie Dumais – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Deborah Ely – Skylands Aikikai
  • Vincent Fantauzzi – Center Island Aikido
  • Michael Foster – Aikido Center of Savannah
  • Carlos Frick – Kenosha Aikikai
  • Mario Gaerlan – Aikido North Jersey
  • Marilene Gelinas – Monteregie Aikikai
  • Damon Grace – Kingston Aikido
  • John Graham – Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Nevil Hawkes – Central New Brunswick Aikikai
  • Glynn Johnson – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Damien Kick – Austin Aikikai
  • Won Kim – Tarzana Aikikai
  • Andrew Konopacki – Albany Aikido
  • Jan Ksel – Sadkane School for Aikido
  • Steven Lasher – Aikido of Central New York
  • Reuven Lirov – Florida Aikido Center
  • Thomas Mallen – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Galen McDonald – Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • Kimberly McNeil – Aikido of Champlain Valley
  • Tia Marie Miceli – Davis Aikikai
  • Ramin Miri – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Paul Nicholson – Naka Ima Aikikai
  • Mary Tran Niskala – Framingham Aikikai
  • Douglas Perrins – Albany Aikido
  • James Reed-Jones – Aikido of El Paso
  • Karim Rohelm – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Rebecca Roth – Naka Ima Aikikai
  • Henry Schoneck III – Aikido of Central New York
  • Chris Schulz – Aikido de la Montagne
  • David Taylor – Aikido of Denton
  • Ben Trupin – Central Illinois Aikikai
  • Kennilyn Vellocido – Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Ken Wilcox – Aikido of Denton
  • Nelson Zorrilla – Aikido North Jersey


  • Luis Alvarado – Newport Beach Aikikai
  • James Bologna – Albany Aikido
  • Mel Burgess – Vicksburg Aikikai
  • Bryan Coffie – Aikido Curacao
  • Yelitza Cuevas – Toronto Aikikai
  • Jorge Garcia – Aikido of Austin
  • Carlton Harris – Aikikai of Philadelphia
  • Sheng-Cheng Huang – Aikido of Austin
  • Saskia Kole-de Wolf – Aikido Curacao
  • Shanat Kolkatkar – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Alex Kuznetsov – Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Jerry Madden – Aikido of Dallas
  • Mario Marquez – Aikido of El Paso
  • Ikumi Oshida – Aikido of Dallas
  • Evie Pond – Central New Brunswick Aikikai
  • Kathy Pratt – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • John Robinson – Aikido of Austin
  • Kenneth Robinson – Bermuda Aikikai
  • Matthew Roder – Aikido of Fairfield County
  • Nancy Supanich – Tarzana Aikikai


  • C. Barry Benjamin – Aikido of South West Florida
  • Robert Bergman – Naka Ima Aikikai
  • Brian Byrne – Austin Aikikai
  • Louis Caron – Aikido of Santa Barbara
  • Jean Clark – City Aikido of Los Angeles
  • Jeff Hodges – Austin Aikikai
  • Roderick Johnson – Aikikai of Philadelphia
  • Peter Kiai – New York Aikikai


  • Taro Amemiya – Northern Virginia Aikikai

Dan Promotions January, 16th 2012 – April 15th, 2012

Test applications received and dated between January 16, 2012 and April 15, 2012 (some listings represent applications prior to Hombu approval).




  • Juan Carlos Casanova – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Sean Gallagher – Open Sky Aikikai
  • Robert Humphreys – New Castle Aikikai
  • Evan Katsuranis – Davis Aikikai
  • Shella Keilholz – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Mark McDonald – Fudoshin Aikikai
  • Steven Miller – Raleigh Aikikai
  • William Morriss – Aikido of Cincinnati
  • Donald Pacholka – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Collette Phillips – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Eric Poma – New Castle Aikikai
  • Phil Sellers – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Charles Traver  – Aikido Center of Savannah
  • Mehmet Ulker – Raleigh Aikikai


  • Steve Brandon – Aikido of Charlotte
  • Jeffrey Brown – Kentuckiana Aikikai
  • Charles Long – Center Island Aikido
  • Adam Roehrig – Kentuckiana Aikikai
  • Brian Runstrom – Davis Aikikai


  • Cynthia Bogel – Puget Sound Aikikai
  • Steve Sandage – San Francisco Aikikai
  • Sac Tran – Greater Hartford Aikikai
  • Andrew Wood – Open Sky Aikikai


  • Matthew Flamm – New York Aikikai


  • Edward Pincus – Aikido of Champlain Valley

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