Archives for January 2016

USAF Honorary Committee

The USAF Honorary Committee was established as a way of honoring a select number of USAF members whose dedication to Aikido and the USAF has spanned decades. As a way of recognizing their lifelong contribution to Aikido, their lifetime appointments to the Honorary Committee enables them to attend any USAF seminars, free of training expenses.

Nelson Andujar Shihan, Nanadan, 7th dan
Nations Aikikai

Nelson Andujar Sensei has been practicing Aikido since 1965. He originally trained under Yamada Sensei at the New York Aikikai and also studied the art of Jujitsu under Antonio Pereira in the Bronx. Later Andujar Sensei moved to Miami, where he established Miami Aikikai and was based for 20 years. In 1996, he moved to Houston and is currently teaching Aikido at Nations Aikikai. Andujar Sensei is bilingual, and has presented seminars all over the western hemisphere, including Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the United States, and Mexico.

Anne Buchanan Fukushidoin, Godan, 5th dan, In Memorium
Aikido of Try-Co-Lan

As co-instructor of the Aikido Club of Try-Co-Lan, Anne began her Aikido training in Central Florida in the mid 1970’s. She has traveled throughout the United States and to Hombu Dojo in Japan in her study of Aikido through the years and has had the privilege of training under many of O-Sensei’s disciples, including Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba, the second and third Doshu. Anne is an experienced educator of both young people and adults. She and her husband Paul founded the Aikido Club of Try-Co-Lan in the Blue Ridge Foothills of the Carolinas in 2006, after their retirement from careers in the U.S. Space Program.

Paul Buchanan Shidoin, Godan, 5th dan
Aikido of Try-Co-Lan

Paul Buchanan Sensei began his Aikido training in Central Florida in the mid 1970’s. He has traveled throughout the United States and to Hombu Dojo in his study of Aikido through the years and has had the privilege of training under many of O-Sensei’s disciples, including Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba, the second and third Doshu. Paul is a former member of the Board of Governors of U. S. Aikido Federation. Paul and his wife Anne founded the Aikido Club of Try-Co-Lan in the Blue Ridge Foothills of the Carolinas in 2006, after their retirement from careers in the U.S. Space Program.

Rodney Grantham Shidoin, Rokudan, 6th dan In Memorium
Aikido Center of Atlanta

Eddie Hagihara Shihan, Nanadan, 7th dan
Long Island Aikikai

Hagihara Sensei is the chief instructor of the Long Island Aikikai and the longest running Aikido teacher in the continental US. Following an extensive Judo career, Hagihara Sensei began his Aikido training in New York in the late 1950’s under Yasuo Ohara. After helping form the New York Aikikai, Hagihara Sensei returned to Japan in 1962 to study directly under Aikido’s founder. While at Hombu Dojo, Hagihara Sensei had the privilege of training under and alongside many of the founder’s top students, and even served as Koichi Tohei’s (then chief instructor of Hombu Dojo) primary Uke during that time. In 1964 Hagihara Sensei was personally commanded by O’Sensei to “go and teach my Aikido” and returned to New York to open the Long Island Aikikai.

Luqman Abdul Hakeem Shihan, Nanadan, 7th dan
Aikido School of Maghreb

Luqman Abdul Hakeem has been a student of Aikido since 1967 and is a long time student of Yamada Sensei. He taught the morning class at the New York Aikikai for 17 years. Luqman Sensei’s early Aikido training was concurrent with 12 years of Ju-Jitsu training under Dr. Naraki Hara from whom he obtained 3rd degree black belt. In the late 1960’s, Luqman Sensei brought Aikido to the borough of Brooklyn. In the early 1970’s he established the long Island University Aikido club. A few years later the Brooklyn Aikido Club was established to give a permanent home to the club. Luqman Sensei has traveled to Japan to further his training in Aikido. In addition he has traveled to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and across the U.S. to conduct seminars. Luqman Sensei is currently residing in Morocco where he has dojo in Casablanca and Marrakesh.

Paul Keelan Shidoin, Rokudan, 6th dan, In Memorium
New England Aikikai

Sensei Keelan has the distinction of being one of the first students of the late Shihan Misunari Kanai, former Technical Director of the USAF, when Kanai Sensei first came to Boston almost 50 years ago. Kanai Sensei was one of the last of the direct disciples of the founder of Aikido, O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba. Paul has been an instructor at New England Aikikai for over 40 years – now instructing almost exclusively at seminars in the Boston area. Paul is also an accomplished swordsman and adept in the softer and more interior forms of the art.

Dennis Meno Shihan, Rokudan, 6th dan
Suncoast Aikido

Bernie Mulligan Shihan, Rokudan, 6th dan

Sidney Spencer Shidoin, Rokudan, 6th dan, In Memorium
Aiki O’Kami Society

Spencer Sensei was first exposed to Aikido during a visit to the Hombu dojo in the 1950’s while serving with the U.S. Army in Korea. His early exposure to O-Sensei convinced this former karate-ka to pursue the Way of Harmony. He began his Aikido training in New York City under Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan. Sidney ‘Sido’ Spencer became the instructor for the Aiki O-Kami Society in the spring of 1998.

Rick Stickles Shihan, Nanadan, 7th dan, In Memorium
Aikido Schools of New Jersey

Born 1950. State champion distance runner attended NYU on full athletic scholarship. Graduated 1972, introduced to Aikido and joined New York Aikikai. Traveled extensively for 15 years assisting Yamada Sensei at seminars and training with over 2 dozen of O’Sensei’s original disciples, including the late and current Doshu. Founded Aikido Schools of New Jersey in 1977 with a current membership of 250 students. Trained over 15 students, now chief instructors, operating dojos in the U.S, Europe and Bermuda. Conducts seminars on both a national and international level. Serves on the instruction staff of New York Aikikai. Practitioner of Dzogchen (Tibetan) meditation. Avid golfer.

Peter Tamagni Shihan, Rokudan, 6th dan,
Vineland Aikikai

Linda Lee Vecchio Shihan, Nanadan, 7th dan
Aikido of Cleveland

Linda Lee Vecchio Sensei, 6th dan, Shihan, is the chief instructor of Aikido of Cleveland. Vecchio Sensei received her first degree black belt in 1969. She beame Chief Instructor of Cleveland Aikikai which later became Aikido of Cleveland in 1969 and at the request of a group of newly returned Vietnam veterans, Vecchio Sensei started teaching at Lakeland Community College in 1972. She established the Lakeland Aikido Club in 1978. Vecchio Sensei has traveled and has taught seminars world wide. She was also the first Secretary of the United States Aikido Federation, for 10 years.

John Yaglowski Godan, 5th dan
Greater Hartford Aikikai

2016 New USAF Dojo

The USAF would like to welcome the following new member dojo:


Barbados Aikikai

Chief Instructor: Christopher Charles

Trents Community Center

Holetown, Barbados



Niagara Falls Aikikai

Chief Instructor: Raymond Caldwell

7637 Lundy’s Lane

Niagara Falls, Ontario L2G 3G3



McGill Aikido

Chief Instructor: Daniel Laurendeau

475 ave. des Pins ouest

Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2W 1S4



Aikido Aruba

Chief Instructor: Bryan Coffie

Tanki Leendert 59-A




Montreal Aikikai

Chief Instructor: Massimo di Villadorata

6530 Avenue Papineau

Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2G 2X2


Cloud Mountain Aikido

Chief Instructors: Benjamin Pincus, Heidi Albrights

111 Pincus Road

Roxbury, VT 05669



Regent Park Community Aikido

Chief Instructor: Kali Hewitt-Blackie

402 Shuter Street

Toronto, Canada M5A 1X6


New York Aikikai Endowment Fund

New York, December 2015

Dear friend of New York Aikikai,

As the end of 2015 is nearing, the spirit of the dojo is lively as ever. Hope you’re enjoying it. We are writing you with some good news:

The Board of Directors at New York Aikikai has made a decision to create an Endowment Fund. This Endowment Fund will be a permanent source of support for the growth and development of the New York Aikikai and its programs.

Yamada Sensei’s work during the past 50+ years has resulted in an extraordinary institution, the New York Aikikai. Through his love of and dedication to aikido and its study, Sensei has touched and inspired many people at home in New York as well as across the United States and abroad. The New York Aikikai’s dojo, which also serves as the headquarters for the United States Aikido Federation, is a place where aikidoka from around the globe immerse themselves in the study of aikido. It is our hope that through this Fund, we will help the NYA continue realizing Yamada Sensei’s vision and ensure his legacy will be with us for years to come.

The New York Aikikai is a special community that could not exist without the efforts of the many members who contribute in significant ways. In turn, the school provides a meaningful experience by growing and evolving. Whether developing the kids programs, performing community outreach, creating scholarships for inner city children, or special classes for beginners and advance practitioners alike, our aim is to thrive.

In order to maintain both the high level of training and the spirit of community, it has been important for Sensei that the dojo continues to be open and accessible to as many members as possible. The school strives to keep the monthly dues low, even in the face of mounting costs. As you can imagine, the expenses of maintaining a building and a school in Manhattan are high and only increase over time.

To ensure our school’s economic sustainability, we humbly request that you consider a donation to the New York Aikikai Endowment Fund. Making a gift today, your contribution will help keep the New York Aikikai the vibrant place we treasure. Our goal is for 100 percent participation from our membership. Any amount counts. (Donate here) Or if you prefer to make a donation by check, please make it out to NY Aikikai (Memo: Endowment) and send it to the address found below.

In order to help with the effort of raising funds for an endowment, the Board of New York Aikikai has formed the Endowment Advisory Group comprised of dojo members. Should you have any questions or concerns about the Endowment, this group or any member of the Board should be able to help you.

The Endowment was established out of love and appreciation for a school and community that continues to enrich and inspire us. To all aikidoka, past and present, friends of the NYA worldwide, if the teachings of Yamada Sensei and the New York Aikikai have had an impact on your life, join us and donate today.

We thank you for your support.



The New York Aikikai Board of Directors


The New York Aikikai is a Nonprofit Organization, (under the 501(c)(3) terms of the Internal Revenue Code) – all contributions to the Fund are 100% tax-deductible.
The New York Aikikai may expend so much of the endowment fund as it deems prudent after considering the factors set forth N-PCL § 553(a)
Perhaps your workplace has a matching program. (Click for information about matching programs).
You can also consider the New York Aikikai Endowment Fund in your estate planning. (Click here for info).
Of course, we will generate a letter for your 2015 tax return.

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