These FAQs are for general information purposes. More in-depth information for chief instructors are available through the dojo-cho login.
How do I join the USAF?
Individual membership to the USAF is through a USAF dojo. By being a member of a USAF dojo, an individual can attain membership to the USAF. All individual membership processes are handled by and through the dojo.
What is Membership in Good Standing?
Membership in good standing means an individual and/or dojo (and if applicable, an instructor) are current with their USAF membership fees during any given year.
Does my rank from another organization transfer to the USAF?
The USAF recognizes all Aikikai Hombu Dojo dan ranks. Transference of kyu ranks granted by other organizations are at the discretion of the USAF dojo instructor. If the instructor feels the rank level corresponds to the USAF requirements, they may chose to transfer the student into their dojo at their existing kyu rank. Dan ranks not recognized by Aikikai must register as shodan with Aikikai and then follow all Aikikai requirements for further advancement.
What are my membership fees used for?
Each year the USAF collects individual, teaching certification and dojo membership fees. These fees, along with testing fees, summer camp revenue proceeds and donations are the sole means of revenue for the USAF. They support all USAF expenses in order to run the organization including but not limited to payroll, office/postage supplies, insurance premiums, professional and consultant fees, printing, computer programming fees, summer camp expenses, and travel expenses including to Aikikai Hombu dojo for USAF-related matters.
If I change dojos, does my fukushidoin, shidoin and/or shihan certifcation transfer with me?
Fukushidoin and shidoin certifications are dojo specific. Therefore, if you transfer to a different USAF dojo, it is at the sole discretion of the new Chief Instructor whether or not to re-issue the title. The title of Shihan is granted by Aikikai and is organization specific. Therefore, Shihan title transfers from one USAF dojo to another, but if a USAF Shihan leaves the USAF, their Shihan title is no longer valid.
How long does it take to receive a dan certificate after testing?
Dan applications are mailed to Japan roughly 3-4 times per year. Once these are received by Aikikai, there is generally a 6-10 week turnaround time before the certificates are received by the USAF. At that time, the administrative office mails the certificates to the dojos for distribution. The rank of 5th dan and higher occur only as new year's recommendations. Instructors are notified of this processes well in advance of the deadline on an annual basis. (Please note, due to COVID, Aikikai has been unable to mail dan certificates to the US, so receipt of certificates is significantly delayed).
How does the USAF communicate to its members?
The primary method of communication by the USAF is through the chief instructors of each dojo. Instructors receive email updates and notifications on a regular bases. It is for the instructors to then share information with their members. However, the USAF also posts news and information in its newsletter, www.usafaikidonews.com, and through socila media platforms.
How are seminars organized?
Summer Camp is the only seminar that is organized and run by the USAF. All other seminars are hosted by member dojos. It is up to individual dojos to decide to host a seminar, as well as who to invite as their guest instructor. The USAF does not participate in this process; however, it is suggested that any seminar invitation to a non-USAF instructor follow certain protocol, as a courtesy.
What events/seminars are run by the USAF?
The USAF annual summer camp is the only seminar run by and/or sponsored by the USAF. All other seminars are organized and hosted by the sponsoring dojo. The USAF does not collect fees, assist with organizing or participate in the decisions regarding who is invited to teach at any seminar other than summer camp.