Technical Committee Announcement

We hope you and your dojos are doing as well as can be expected during these challenging times. As you know, the USAF and the aikido community at large were hit with a tremendous loss in February with the passing of our dear friend and long-time USAF Technical Committee (TC) member, Donovan Waite. He is greatly missed by all.

With this loss, we discussed the importance of adding a new member to the TC. We would have made this announcement at summer camp after our annual meeting but due to camp’s cancellation, we are writing to share the news that the TC has voted Penny Bernath, 7th dan, Shihan and co–Chief Instructor of Florida Aikikai, as its newest member.

Penny received the rank of 7th dan this past January, which is one of the requirements to be eligible for the TC. Additional reasons for Penny’s selection include her involvement in the USAF for close to 50 years and her recognition within the community as a valued member both on and off the mat. She served on the USAF Board of Directors for multiple terms, and she has taught many seminars at USAF dojos on a regular basis.

We congratulate Penny and are proud of all her achievements and dedication to the aikido community.

We look forward to being in touch again soon,

Y. Yamada and the Technical Committee

Thank you from the USAF Aikido Online Class Series

Today is the first day of summer break for the USAF Aikido Online Class Series. We wish to take this opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation to the aikido community. We hope you can take a moment to watch and share with your friends. Have a wonderful summer!

New USAF Website Is Live!

We are excited to announce the launch of the new USAF website, Though more work still needs to be done, we felt it was time to go live and will keep you posted as updates continue.
As you will notice, the new website includes a COVID section. For the past year, the USAF has been working hard to adapt to COVID-19 challenges. With everyone’s support and participation in the online classes and DVC conversations, USAF members have been able to “see” one another virtually and get through the pandemic together. In addition to the USAF Youtube page, all of the virtual classes are now available on the new site, and it is wonderful to see the vast array of instructors that participated in this series. Thank you!
We hope you enjoy the new website!

Summer Camp 2021 Canceled

As spring returns and the weather allows us to enjoy being outside, we thought it important to notify you that the USAF summer camp for 2021 is unfortunately canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.

Please know that we are already in discussions with the Dolce Seaview Hotel regarding camp in 2022, and hope that circumstances improve so we are able to reunite for one of our favorite weeks of the year.

We will keep you posted as time progresses, and in the mean time, we hope you remain healthy and well!

Information Regarding Funeral Services For Donovan Waite Sensei

Please click the link below to view the information provided by the Waite family regarding the funeral services for Donovan Waite Sensei. We send our deepest condolences to his family and the aikido community. He will be greatly missed.

Information Regarding Waite Sensei Funeral Services




Sad News to Share

It is with deep sadness that we must announce the passing of our dear friend and teacher, Donovan Waite. We were notified of this tragic news today and at this time, we have no other information to share. Our hearts go out to his family, students, and friends throughout the world. There are no words to express the depth of this loss to the aikido community. We will always hold him in our hearts and in our practice.
Y. Yamada and the USAF

New Year’s Letter from the USAF Board 2021

Dear Instructors, Dojo-cho and Members,
On behalf of the USAF Board of Directors, we wish you a belated happy New Year, and hope that you are healthy and well. Looking to the months ahead, we must try to remain positive, and adjust to whatever future challenges we face. We are truly inspired by the many ways you are adapting to the times, such as teaching virtual and/or outdoor weapons classes. The USAF continues to be grateful for the energy and commitment displayed by USAF instructors and dojo members, and applaud you in your efforts to keep your communities connected and engaged.
The USAF Board, Committees, Technical Committee and Laura and Karen are always looking for ways to support our membership. We will continue to provide weekly virtual zoom classes, which have already featured over 35 of our instructors from around the globe. We have also met virtually during Dojo-cho Video Conversations, and enjoyed seeing many of you during these discussions. We greatly appreciate the feedback we received, and the opportunity to share information and just see each other face-to-face.  We will be organizing another DVC soon and hope you can join in.
In order to address the pandemic and its impact on the aikido community, the Board and Committees met virtually dozens of times in 2020, and already convened twice in January of 2021. With the start of a new year, budget discussions and how to adapt to this economic climate continue to be a main topic. The USAF has made several financial adjustments to meet these uncertain times, and greatly appreciates all of the dojos that paid their 2020 dues in spite of the economic hardships we are all enduring. We hope that those that are able will do so again for 2021.
The USAF would like to thank Paul Forhan, Aikido of El Paso, for the many years he volunteered his time and expertise on the Board. Prior to the expiration of his term, Paul served many roles: Board member, Treasurer, and Chair of the Financial Oversight Committee. We would also like to thank Sylvie Firestone, Aikido of Westchester, for her service on the Board. We wish Sylvie all the best on her new professional journey, and appreciate her continued role in the Working Group. At this time, Joseph Nemeth, Aikido of Nassau County, has joined the Board to fulfill Sylvie’s remaining term. Joe, being a long-time advisor to the Board, provides a seamless transition while we continue to focus on the challenges facing our aikido community.
Yamada Sensei has been maintaining a positive attitude, but he cannot wait to resume traveling and teaching again. He has received his first Covid vaccination and is looking forward to the time when we can see each other in person.
With the beginning 2021, we extend our best wishes to you and yours. We are grateful for your continued support, and hope you are healthy and safe. We look forward to remaining in touch!
In hopeful anticipation for a return to what we all love, we will end by saying: See you on the mat!
George Kennedy, Chair
USAF Board of Directors

Dan Promotion Applications Mailed to Aikikai January 21st, 2021

Test applications mailed to Aikikai Hombu Dojo on January 21st, 2021 for registration of  dan rank.




  • Matthew Addison – Pinellas County Aikikai
  • Michael Carbone – Aikido of Central New York
  • Johnny Cicirello – Myoho Aikido Vermont
  • Mary Dickens – Fairfield Iowa Aikikai
  • Salvatore Donato – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Adbellatif Fqihi – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Emiko Yoshia Frye – Pasadena Aikikai
  • Ludmilla Pavlova Gillham – Valley Aikido
  • Wesley Hartman – Maru Aikikai South
  • Max Hyatt – Maru Aikikai South
  • William Johnson – Aikido Center of Atlanta
  • Eva LaDow – Aikido of Dallas
  • Karen Lane – Brevard Aikikai
  • Daniel Lapare – Aikido de la Montagne
  • DJ Macintyre – Ottawa Aikido Center
  • Daniel Malarik – Aikido of Central New York
  • Christopher Manz – Valley Aikido
  • Yuki Nakashima – Ottawa Aikikai
  • Adam Nicholson – Sangamon Aikikai
  • Michael Reese – Aikido of Dallas
  • David Todt – Fairfield Iowa Aikikai


  • Anthony Bentley – Springfield Aikido Club
  • Peter Discenza – Twin Cities Aikido Center
  • David Goldberger – Two Rivers Aikikai
  • April Hersey – Two Rivers Aikikai
  • James Jacenich – Staunton Aikikai
  • Jennifer Key – Two Rivers Aikikai
  • Kimberly Koenig – Woodstock Aikido
  • Alon Koppel – Woodstock Aikido
  • Lance Luria – Springfield Aikido Club
  • Rachel Narowlansky – Notting Hill Aikikai


  • Javier Calduch – Florida Aikikai
  • Diana Edenburg – Florida Aikikai
  • Joseph Giardina – Aikido of Westchester
  • Anne Chu Liao – Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Teri Pierson – Two Rivers Aikikai
  • David Plock – Palm Beach Aikikai
  • Dmitry Pozdnyakov – Woodstock Aikido
  • Monica Sasaki – Florida Aikikai
  • Violet Snow – Woodstock Aikido
  • Phi Tong – Palm Beach Aikikai


  • Denis Betournay – McGill Aikido
  • Nikolay Grozdanov – Florida Aikikai
  • Robert LaPalme – Valley  Aikido
  • Dale Mankin – El Paso Aikikai
  • Jerome Mercier – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Michael Nedostupenko – Florida Aikikai
  • Andrew Obeidy – Florida Aikikai
  • Victor Ortiz – Florida Aikikai
  • Charn Pennewaert – Newport Beach Aikikai
  • Jacques Pharand – McGill Aikido
  • Robert Pitts – Mt Pleasant Aikido
  • Nicholas Ross – Woodstock Aikido

2021 New Year’s Promotions By Recommendations

The following list comprises the 2021 New Year’s promotions by recommendation for 5th, 6th and 7th dan, and Shihan. Congratulations to all! 

The recently posted list by Aikikai can be found here: Click Here


  • Kenneth Cadogan – Aikido of Chester County
  • Aaron Cass – Portsmouth Aikido
  • Jorge Del Castillo – Florida Aikikai
  • Robert Lewis Clark – Kitsap Aikido
  • Larry DeCarmine – Palm Beach Aikikai
  • Neal Earhart – Aikido of Westchester
  • Graham Fraser – Mount Saint Vincent Aikikai
  • Arnold Gentile – Albany Aikido
  • Michael Hannoyer – Aikido de la Montagne
  • Daniel Hayes – Chushin Aikikai
  • Victor Hung – Aikido of Colorado
  • Alan Jackson – Mt Pleasant Aikido
  • Raymond Kohl –  Midwest Aikido Center
  • Wendy Rusch Kopka – Midwest Aikido Center
  • Chris Mills – Island Aikido
  • Octavia (Tabi) Pereyra – Florida Aikikai
  • Keith Pray – Albany Aikido
  • Gustavo Rearte – South Bay Aikikai
  • Benjamin Silver – Aikido of Santa Barbara
  • James Sinnott – Aikido Institute of Newfoundland
  • Donald Slater – Georgia Southern University Aikido Club


  • Timothy Antrim – Southside Aikido
  • Ty Barker – Portland Aikikai
  • Robert Crowell – Knoxville Aikikai
  • Ray Feliciano – Pasadena Aikikai
  • Bryan Golden – Woodstock Aikido
  • Jack Hayes – Aikido Cedar Rapids
  • Sharon Henn-Kanai – New England Aikikai
  • Alesia Kunz – San Francisco Aikikai
  • Ralph Legnini – Woodstock Aikido
  • Michael Martin – Capitol Hill Aikikai
  • William McLuskie – Water Oak Aikikai
  • Lynne Morrison – Florida Aikikai
  • Charles Renner – Springfield Aikido Club
  • Jayne Thompson – Aikido Cedar Rapids
  • Joseph Verville – San Francisco Aikikai
  • Robert Ward – Aikido of Prescott
  • Kenneth Yamazaki – New York Eastside Aikikai


  • Penny Bernath – Florida Aikikai
  • David Birt – Davis Aikikai
  • Yukiko Katagiri – Cornell Aikido Club
  • Steven Kaufmann – Open Sky Aikikai
  • Grady Lane – Brevard Aikikai
  • Larry Levitt – Valley Aikido
  • Joseph Nemeth – Aikido of Nassau County
  • Collins Smith – Bermuda Aikikai
  • William Xavier Staub – Waianae Coast Aikido
  • Geraldine Louise Tremblay Waianae Coast Aikido
  • Richard Wagener – Palm Beach Aikikai
  • Frank Wong Loi Sing – Aikido Curacao


  • Damon Apodaca – Santa Fe Budokan
  • Patrick Hardesty – Kentuckiana Aikikai
  • Alicia Cordero Hardesty – Kentuckiana Aikikai
  • Stephan Jesberger – Mohawk Valley Aikido
  • Brian Mizerak – Woodstock Aikido
  • Daniel Palmer  – Asheville Aikikai
  • Gail Skinner – Aikido of the Canyon Lands

Holiday Donation Appeal

Dear Aikido Community,

As 2020 comes to an end, we can’t help but reflect on what a difficult year this has been. The pandemic has adversely affected everyone around the world, as it has aikido, our friends and our dojos. We have been unable to resume our regular activities in the art we all love and cherish. As an organization, our dojos have faced many challenges to keep aikido accessible and communities intact.

Please know that as we move into 2021, the USAF will continue to try its best to serve its membership. Until we are all able to reunite on the mat, social media and zoom will allow us to stay connected, take classes with our wonderful instructors, and meet for important discussions. Under Yamada Sensei’s guidance, the USAF is dedicated to supporting the art of aikido and will do what it can to keep our community united and engaged. We remain encouraged by Sensei’s frequent video greetings, as he continues to convey positivity, perseverance and compassion to his students around the world and the aikido community at large.

As is the case with most dojos and aikido organizations, this has been a particularly difficult year financially for the USAF. Therefore, we would like to make a holiday appeal to those of you who are in a position to express your generosity and support by making a donation. No contribution is too small.

The following link will bring you directly to the USAF Paypal donations page: Donate to the USAF

Please feel free to pass this information on to fellow aikidoka. As the USAF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, all donations are 100% tax deductible.

With warm regards and much appreciation,


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