Member Articles
Upcoming Events
View this email in your browser

TAA Newsletter

Winter 2015

Forward to Friend

Inside this Issue

Moving up (Promotions)

Fumiaki SHISHIDA Visits the Baltimore Martial Arts Academy 

2015 East Coast Collegiate Invitational: University of Carolina at Chapel Hill
Worldwide Sport Aikido Federation (WSAF) / 2015 Brisbane Tournament & Seminars

Website Revamp

Annual Dues / Insurance


Moving Up

Recent Promotions

We are pleased to announce the following promotions.  Congratulations to all! 

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) & Mesa College – Bob Dziubla Shihan
Michael Shaw – 4th kyu (orange belt)
Taira MacNeill – 4th kyu (orange belt)
Andy MacNeill – 5th kyu (yellow belt)

Bay Area Shodokan Aikido (Berkeley, CA) - Warren Pottebaum
Alena Coons - 5th kyu (yellow belt)
Alex Gitelman - 3rd kyu (green belt)

UNC Aikido Club Promotions - Erik Townsend
Vimy Dang - 5th kyu (yellow belt)
Connor Winkler - 5th kyu (yellow belt)
Kalyn Vanvoorhies - 5th kyu (yellow belt)
Caroline Spence - 5th kyu (yellow belt)
Daniel Chiquito - 5th kyu (yellow belt)
Aart Franken - 5th kyu (yellow belt)
Alec Niccum - 4th kyu (orange belt)
Ethan Biamonte - 4th kyu (orange belt)
Barbara Zemskova - 1st kyu (brown belt)
Joshua Baker - 1st kyu (brown belt)
Andrew Graczyk - 1st kyu (brown belt)
Fumiaki SHISHIDA Visits the Baltimore Martial Arts Academy
By Greg Linden, Yondan Columbia Athletic Club Aikido
Fumiaki SHISHIDA had an exciting 2014, traveling, studying and teaching aikido.  Late in the year, he visited and conducted two Aikido seminars at the Baltimore Martial Arts Academy in Maryland during the afternoons of Saturday, Oct 11 and Sunday, Oct 12.  Each of the seminars were 3 hours and filled with much energy and discussion.  Over 50 practicing aikidoka, made up of more than 12 long time aikido club teachers and their students were in attendance to see this powerful instructor throw, demonstrate, teach and participate in hours of dynamic aikido practice.  Seminar participants came from throughout Maryland, and represented at least 6 other states and multiple aikido clubs and groups, many independent and others associated with the TAA.

Fumi (as he prefers to be called) masterfully demonstrated the Basic Junanahon Kata (of 17 techniques) and brought new understanding to these moves, grabs and balance breaking moves.   Fumi covered each technique from several angles and self-defence possibilities.  He added a tremendous amount of perspective, ranging from his own training as a student of Oba Sensei and the evolution of these basic kata moves. He explained how the kata has changed over the decades and gave us practical ideas to assess if the manner in which we were currently practicing these techniques were appropriate.  We spent so much time on the Basic Junanahon techniques that we only had a short time to cover each of the 10 Junanahon counter techniques approved for training.
Participants had a wonderful time – we all saw Fumi in fine form – both in explaining his deep reflective ideas about the way Aikido can best be practiced and how each technique works – and won’t work – based on the application of consistent budo principles.
For readers who are not familiar with this exceptional teacher, Fumiaki Shishida (born 1949) is a Japanese aikido teacher, and one of traditionally two Shihan of the Japan Aikido Association, where he holds the rank of 8th dan. (eighth degree Black Belt).  Fumiaki Shishida, is a full Ph.D., Professor of the Intellectual History of the Japanese Martial Arts in Waseda University, Japan and author of several works on the subject. He obtained his doctoral degree from Waseda University in 2003. He won the Japan Society of Sport History prize in 2006 for his book “The Educational Strength of Japanese Budo.
Fumi Shishida was especially gracious to all of us fortunate to join in his seminar and dinner Saturday night.  His visit to the Baltimore area was prompted when Fumi wanted to pay his respects to Dr. Yoji Kondo, who is a retired Chief NASA Scientist, and fellow Aikido Sensei.  Dr. Kondo once hosted Fumiaki Shishida back in 1986 when he first visited the east coast and this was Shishida-Sensei’s second visit.  Dr. Kondo has held together a strong and growing Tomiki Aikido Club in Columbia, MD since the early 1980s.  It is now being run by Geffrey Haynes and John Randall, who have practiced together with Dr. Kondo for more than 30 years.  Eric Humphreys has also assisted in administration of the club since Dr. Kondo’s retirement from aikido in early 2013.   Dr. Kondo has recently taken up residence in an adult care facility due to ailing physical and mental health.  Luckily, Fumi was able to visit and stay with Dr. Kondo and his family prior to the most recent decline in Dr. Kondo’s health.  It was during his brief 3-day stay with the Kondo’s that Fumi agreed to spend his afternoons sharing his love and knowledge of aikido with us.

2015 East Coast Collegiate Aikido Invitational 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

By Erik Townsend

This was the first East Coast Collegiate Aikido Invitational, which we hope will become a yearly tradition, from this day forward. The UNC Aikido Club is a Sports Club at the university and to be a sports club, there are certain rules we must maintain.  One of them is to compete against other colleges and universities.  We had invited all dojo’s and educational establishments to come, and the University of Baltimore accepted the challenge and showed up along with most of the Aikido members from the state of North Carolina. The weather was rainy and did not cooperate until Sunday, but everyone that came eventually got to see the campus (Franklin Street) and other areas of Chapel Hill.
In addition to the participants that arrived, we also had many TAA board members attend the invitational. They did most of the refereeing and gave us some hands on training with score keeping. This invitational consisted of daily, two hour seminars, and tournament events that included tanto randori and kata. Many thought a busy schedule such as this was a bold and aggressive idea for a club so new to the TAA. The UNC club members, however, became committed and persevered to do what we thought would be best for the TAA community. It was fortuitous that we had so many aikidoka that came to help us make this a promising endeavor. We do thank you all that came out, participated and helped us make it a success.
We were honored to have Sensei Bob King host the daily morning seminars.  He taught all 14 of the kihon no kuzushi and then broke the seminar into two groups. Sensei King reviewed the San Kata for the upcoming international tournament and what those judges will be looking for, from the participants.  Shihan Moe Stevens, took all kyu ranks under Brown belt and reviewed the Junanhon kata. Along with these two instructors, who were pouring out a plethora of knowledge, we had Sensei’s Wade Current, Ian King and William Ball adding to the instruction.
The tournament side of the event started on Friday. Taking note and copying this past summer’s national tournament, we had the Random Partner Kata to open things up and get everyone in the correct mindset. The mindset was not to bloody your opponent, but more to meet and greet students from other dojo’s.  Saturday was the meat of the tournament and it encompassed Individual and Team Randori for both men and women, and the Junanahon Kata for all kyu ranks. It was pleasing to everyone, to see Orange, Yellow and even White belts take part and demonstrate only the part of the kata that they knew. The atmosphere was one of cohesion, fun, and competition.
Testing was also done and Ian King took and passed his Ni-Dan test. On Saturday night all 30 participants had a celebratory dinner at the Tobacco Road Restaurant. The weekend was a very festive event that brought out the best that Tomiki Aikido has to offer. Kenji Tomiki’s vision was to have competition between colleges and universities, as well as between dojo’s, national and international competitions. UNC Aikido hopes that we are encapsulating that vision  and are looking to a bright future and hope that those that could not make it will next year and those that did make it will return. 

1) Erik Townsend & Aart Franken
2) Justin Chang & Vimy Usagi Dang
3) Joshua David Baker & Dennis Bandiero
Results Picture
1) Erik Townsend (UNC)
2) Alec Niccum (UNC)
3) Eric Johnson (Univ Baltimore)
3) Joshua David Baker (UNC)
Results Picture
1) Rachel Irwin (Raleigh)
2) Barbara Zemskova (UNC)
3) Kalynn Vanvoorhies (UNC)
Results Picture
1) UNC of Chapel Hill (Andrew Graczyk, Erik Townsend, Devin Miller)
2) University Baltimore (Eric Johnson, William Ball & Robert Brandon)
3) Raleigh Green (Dennis Bandiero, Rachel Irwin, Bill Irwin)
3) Raleigh Justin (Clint Bowen, Justin Chang, Andre Fuqua)
Results Picture
Results:  Kata - Junanahon
1) UNC (Barbara Zemskova & Caroline Spence)
2) Raleigh (Dennis Bandiero & Bill Irwin)
3) University Baltimore (Eric Johnson & Robert Brandon)
3) Raleigh (Rachel Irwin & Bennett Bandiero)
Results Picture
Worldwide Sport Aikido Association (WSAF) 

Brisbane Tournament & Seminars

August 27th - 30th, 2015

Included in this Newsletter is the invitation to the 2015 Aikido World Championships.  We are soliciting members for Team USA, so please do consider representing the United States in this important tournament.   The TAA is officially supporting participation in the Brisbane tournament.

As everyone knows, the TAA together with England (British Aikido Association), Russia (Russian Aikido Association) and Georgia (Georgian Competitive Aikido Association), are advocating around the world for the establishment of a new global Tomiki Aikido organization called the Worldwide Sport Aikido Federation (WSAF).  The WSAF is based on principles of equality,  democracy, inclusion, and fair play.  The WSAF is not aligned with either of the two major factions in Japan, i.e. the Japan Aikido Association (JAA) and Shodokan Aikido Federation (Shodokan).

Because the USA in 2013 attended the Kawasaki tournament in Japan, which was hosted by the JAA, we are now supporting the Brisbane Tournament, which is being hosted by Shodokan, to demonstrate impartiality and equality.  Shodokan specifically requested that the WSAF be a co-sponsor of the Brisbane Tournament so that the WSAF could present in detail to all of the Shodokan organizations from around the world, for their further consideration,  a detailed statement of the WSAF’s:
  • Goals,
  • Governance structure,
  • Membership requirements,
  • Rules and standards for international tournaments and seminars,
The WSAF has agreed to be a co-sponsor of the Brisbane Tournament based on the explicit written agreement from Shodokan that:  (A) the tournament will be judged by fair and independent referees and judges (i.e., judges from countries / organizations different from any of the competitors, to the extent physically possible)  and (B) under a set of internationally agreed rules that will not be changed prior to the tournament, which in this case means the international rules used at the last unified World Championship that was held in London in 2011.

Unsurprisingly, shortly after the announcement of the Brisbane Tournament, the JAA decided that it would sponsor a competing tournament on October 22 – 26, 2015, in Switzerland.  More information about this tournament can be found at
Website Revamp
As many of you know, the TAA website crashed a couple of years ago when there were some Board resignations.  As soon as possible after the crash we launched a new website that was done on a pro bono basis for us by some friends of the TAA.  That current website, unfortunately,  has a number of glitches (e.g., the registration page and payment portal) that many folks have, rightfully, complained about. 

The Board enlisted the help of three of our members who have tremendous experience in the world of technology and website process management (Antonio Gonzalez, Shane Branch and Greg Linden), and as a result of their hard work and recommendation, we recently signed a contract to have an entirely new, robust and capable website developed for the TAA.  Our plan is to have that new website roll out in stages over the next few months as they are completed and after initial testing.  Three of the top priorities are to have an easy-to-use member registration page, a streaming digital content page where folks can access seminars and training tapes, and a simple and straightforward payment portal for annual dues and promotion fees.

Thank you for your patience and support.
Annual Dues / Insurance
Please remember to pay your $30 annual dues online at We previously had some problems with this online registration due to a broken hyperlink, but understand the problem has been fixed.  It is important to complete the annual membership registration, as that is how we create the member list that we submit to our insurance carrier when we renew our annual policy in April

If you continue to experience problems, please notify Bob Dziubla at
TAA Social Media
TAA is happy to announce an updated social media campaigns.  You can look forward to more updates and posts from TAA’s social media channels via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   Friends can share their passion with the latest pictures and accomplishments.  The TAA social media will serve as a bulletin board to announce upcoming events throughout the nation.  Everyone is encouraged to post comments and share with the community the latest promotions.  Stay tuned for further announcements on TAA Social Media.  If you haven’t done so already, please like us on Facebook @  Happy posting!