Interview with USAF Technical Committee Member Andy Demko: The Early Years in the American Northeast

Andy Demko began training martial arts and combat sports while he was in high school. After seeing an aikido class at Youngstown University, he joined, eventually meeting Koichi Tohei and Yoshimitsu Yamada in the mid-1960s. He later opened his Aikido Center of New Castle in 1971. Today, Demko discusses the fledgling years of aikido in … Continue reading Interview with USAF Technical Committee Member Andy Demko: The Early Years in the American Northeast

Interview with Former New York Aikikai Instructor Ruth Peyser: Supporting Gender Equity and the Independent Coalition of USAF Women’s Petition

Ruth Peyser began training aikido in 1980 after observing a class at the New York Aikikai. For the better part of forty years, she trained under Yoshimitsu Yamada, Seiichi Sugano and Donovan Waite. In late 2019, she signed the Independent Coalition of USAF Women’s petition, resulting in her banishment from the New York Aikikai. Today, … Continue reading Interview with Former New York Aikikai Instructor Ruth Peyser: Supporting Gender Equity and the Independent Coalition of USAF Women’s Petition

Interview with Arielle Herman, Part II: The Independent Coalition of USAF Women and the Future of Aikido in America

Arielle Herman of Rivertide Martial Arts and Yoga became a part of the Independent Coalition of USAF Women in late 2019, and soon became a representative of the Coalition in meetings with the USAF. Today, Arielle talks about her experiences with the Coalition and the future of aikido in America in relation to the event. … Continue reading Interview with Arielle Herman, Part II: The Independent Coalition of USAF Women and the Future of Aikido in America

Interview with Arielle Herman, Part I: The Independent Coalition of USAF Women and the Future of Aikido in America

Arielle Herman of Rivertide Martial Arts and Yoga became a part of the Independent Coalition of USAF Women in late 2019, and soon became a representative of the Coalition in meetings with the USAF. Today, Arielle talks about her experiences with the Coalition and the future of aikido in America in relation to the event. … Continue reading Interview with Arielle Herman, Part I: The Independent Coalition of USAF Women and the Future of Aikido in America

Interview with Aikido Shihan Bill Witt: The Early Days of Aikido in Northern California

Bill Witt Sensei began training in aikido in 1967, under Ueshiba Morihei – O-Sensei – at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. After O-Sensei passed away in 1969, Witt Sensei began training under Saito Morihiro Sensei in Iwama, Japan. He cofounded the Takemusu Aikido Association in 2002, based in California, and currently has been teaching at Aikido … Continue reading Interview with Aikido Shihan Bill Witt: The Early Days of Aikido in Northern California

Interview with Former Independent Coalition of USAF Women Member Claire Keller: The Cause and the Future

Claire Keller began her aikido journey in 1980, having the chance to train under Kazuo Chiba, Mitsunari Kanai, Seichi Sugano, and Yoshimitsu Yamada. She trained with the latter until she became the only signatory on the Independent Coalition of USAF Women from the New York Aikikai and was subsequently expelled in late 2019. In this … Continue reading Interview with Former Independent Coalition of USAF Women Member Claire Keller: The Cause and the Future

Interview with Todd Jones: Thomas “Doc” Walker and Growing Aikido in Florida

Todd Jones, founder of American Butokukan, began his martial arts journey in 1971 with taekwondo, moving to aikido two years later. This is a transcript of an interview conducted the fall of 2018 for research of my upcoming American aikido history book. Here, we discuss his time under Thomas “Doc” Walker, the early days of … Continue reading Interview with Todd Jones: Thomas “Doc” Walker and Growing Aikido in Florida

Interview with Independent Coalition of USAF Women Founder Janice Taitel

Janice Taitel began her aikido journey in 1992, first training under Mitsunari Kanai then Greg O’Connor, before establishing her Aikido Center of Dover. In the summer of 2019, she and others formed the Independent Coalition of USAF Women in an effort to bring awareness and discuss a solution to the gender equity in the organization. … Continue reading Interview with Independent Coalition of USAF Women Founder Janice Taitel

Interview with Aikido Shihan George Kennedy: Rodney Grantham and Southeastern Aikido

This is a transcript of an interview with the United States Aikido Federation’s Chairman of the Board of Directors George Kennedy Shihan in the summer of 2017 for research of my upcoming American aikido history book. In it, we discuss his first aikido instructor, Rodney Grantham, as well as Yoshimitsu Yamada and his role in … Continue reading Interview with Aikido Shihan George Kennedy: Rodney Grantham and Southeastern Aikido