Yoshimitsu Yamada
8th Dan, Shihan
USAF Chairman

New York Aikikai 40th Anniversary Summer Camp
A Message from Yamada Sensei

Editor’s note: The New York Aikikai 40th anniversary summer camp was a memorable occasion with Doshu, Osawa Sensei and the Shihankai Sensei all together at one time.

It is always a pleasure to extend my greetings to all of you in the Aikido community.

Obviously, 2004 will be a very special year for me. In fact, I am expecting to have one of the best years of my life. While planning the New York Aikikai's 40th Anniversary Summer Camp, I am very excited about all the people from all over the world who will be coming, and the great opportunity it will be to have Doshu and the Shihan we have invited all there to celebrate our special event.

You can see our New York Aikikai's 40th Anniversary Seminar Poster and visit our website for more information at www.NYAikikai.com .

In working on the details for this upcoming event, I am constantly being reminded about memories from the past four decades. It is hard to believe that it has been that long, and I look around and see so many of the same faces.

I think back to when I was 17 years old and became an uchideshi at Hombu Dojo. When I joined Tamura Sensei and Arikawa Sensei were there. Kobayashi was still in college but came to the dojo every day. O-Sensei was in the dojo every week, but on a schedule that changed all the time. He never planned things in advance. Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba was there but Osawa Sensei still had a regular job. Tohei Sensei was there. Tomiki Sensei was still coming to teach once a week. Tada Sensei was teaching in the afternoon. Yamaguchi Sensei was there but soon after I joined he was sent to Burma.

Once my time as an uchi deshi ended, I went to New York and began to travel all over the US, up and down the east coast. Nobody had any money, I took the Greyhound bus. I commuted to Boston once a week for two years. I also went to Philadelphia quite often. I went to the South or Florida.

Now Aikido has expanded so I travel all over the world. It is gratifying to see Aikido growing and I try to help it along as much as I can. I'm happy that Aikido students from all over the world will be attending this summer camp.

We all have worked very hard keeping Aikido in our lives, and helping it grow all over the country and the world.

Once again I would like to thank you for your support of the USAF.