The USAF Honorary Committee was established as a way of honoring a select number of USAF members whose dedication to Aikido and the USAF has spanned decades. As a way of recognizing their lifelong contribution to Aikido, their lifetime appointments to the Honorary Committee enables them to attend any USAF seminars, free of training expenses.
Nelson Andujar Shihan, Nanadan, 7th dan
Nelson Andujar Sensei has been practicing Aikido since 1965. He originally trained under Yamada Sensei at the New York Aikikai and also studied the art of Jujitsu under Antonio Pereira in the Bronx. Later Andujar Sensei moved to Miami, where he established Miami Aikikai and was based for 20 years. In 1996, he moved to Houston and is currently teaching Aikido at Nations Aikikai. Andujar Sensei is bilingual, and has presented seminars all over the western hemisphere, including Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the United States, and Mexico.
Anne Buchanan Fukushidoin, Godan, 5th dan, In Memorium
Aikido of Try-Co-Lan
As co-instructor of the Aikido Club of Try-Co-Lan, Anne began her Aikido training in Central Florida in the mid 1970's. She has traveled throughout the United States and to Hombu Dojo in Japan in her study of Aikido through the years and has had the privilege of training under many of O-Sensei's disciples, including Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba, the second and third Doshu. Anne is an experienced educator of both young people and adults. She and her husband Paul founded the Aikido Club of Try-Co-Lan in the Blue Ridge Foothills of the Carolinas in 2006, after their retirement from careers in the U.S. Space Program.
Paul Buchanan Shidoin, Godan, 5th dan, in Memorium
Aikido of Try-Co-Lan
Paul Buchanan Sensei began his Aikido training in Central Florida in the mid 1970's. He has traveled throughout the United States and to Hombu Dojo in his study of Aikido through the years and has had the privilege of training under many of O-Sensei's disciples, including Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba, the second and third Doshu. Paul is a former member of the Board of Governors of U. S. Aikido Federation. Paul and his wife Anne founded the Aikido Club of Try-Co-Lan in the Blue Ridge Foothills of the Carolinas in 2006, after their retirement from careers in the U.S. Space Program.
Rodney Grantham Shidoin, Rokudan, 6th dan, In Memorium
Aikido Center of Atlanta
Eddie Hagihara Shihan, Nanadan, 7th dan
Long Island Aikikai
Hagihara Sensei is the chief instructor of the Long Island Aikikai and the longest running Aikido teacher in the continental US. Following an extensive Judo career, Hagihara Sensei began his Aikido training in New York in the late 1950's under Yasuo Ohara. After helping form the New York Aikikai, Hagihara Sensei returned to Japan in 1962 to study directly under Aikido's founder. While at Hombu Dojo, Hagihara Sensei had the privilege of training under and alongside many of the founder's top students, and even served as Koichi Tohei's (then chief instructor of Hombu Dojo) primary Uke during that time. In 1964 Hagihara Sensei was personally commanded by O'Sensei to "go and teach my Aikido" and returned to New York to open the Long Island Aikikai.
Luqman Abdul Hakeem Shihan, Nanadan, 7th dan, In Memorium
Aikido School of Maghreb
Luqman Abdul Hakeem has been a student of Aikido since 1967 and is a long time student of Yamada Sensei. He taught the morning class at the New York Aikikai for 17 years. Luqman Sensei's early Aikido training was concurrent with 12 years of Ju-Jitsu training under Dr. Naraki Hara from whom he obtained 3rd degree black belt. In the late 1960's, Luqman Sensei brought Aikido to the borough of Brooklyn. In the early 1970's he established the long Island University Aikido club. A few years later the Brooklyn Aikido Club was established to give a permanent home to the club. Luqman Sensei has traveled to Japan to further his training in Aikido. In addition he has traveled to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and across the U.S. to conduct seminars. Luqman Sensei is currently residing in Morocco where he has dojo in Casablanca and Marrakesh.
Paul Keelan Shidoin, Rokudan, 6th dan, In Memorium
New England Aikikai
Sensei Keelan has the distinction of being one of the first students of the late Shihan Misunari Kanai, former Technical Director of the USAF, when Kanai Sensei first came to Boston almost 50 years ago. Kanai Sensei was one of the last of the direct disciples of the founder of Aikido, O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba. Paul has been an instructor at New England Aikikai for over 40 years - now instructing almost exclusively at seminars in the Boston area. Paul is also an accomplished swordsman and adept in the softer and more interior forms of the art.
Dennis Meno Shihan, Rokudan, 6th dan
Bernie Mulligan Shihan, Rokudan, 6th dan, In Memorium
Sidney Spencer Shidoin, Rokudan, 6th dan, In Memorium
Aiki O'Kami Society
Spencer Sensei was first exposed to Aikido during a visit to the Hombu dojo in the 1950's while serving with the U.S. Army in Korea. His early exposure to O-Sensei convinced this former karate-ka to pursue the Way of Harmony. He began his Aikido training in New York City under Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan. Sidney 'Sido' Spencer became the instructor for the Aiki O-Kami Society in the spring of 1998.
Rick Stickles Shihan, Nanadan, 7th dan, In Memorium
Aikido Schools of New Jersey
Born 1950. State champion distance runner attended NYU on full athletic scholarship. Graduated 1972, introduced to Aikido and joined New York Aikikai. Traveled extensively for 15 years assisting Yamada Sensei at seminars and training with over 2 dozen of O'Sensei's original disciples, including the late and current Doshu. Founded Aikido Schools of New Jersey in 1977 with a current membership of 250 students. Trained over 15 students, now chief instructors, operating dojos in the U.S, Europe and Bermuda. Conducts seminars on both a national and international level. Serves on the instruction staff of New York Aikikai. Practitioner of Dzogchen (Tibetan) meditation. Avid golfer.
Peter Tamagni Shihan, Rokudan, 6th dan, In Memorium
Linda Lee Vecchio Shihan, Nanadan, 7th dan, In Memorium
Aikido of Cleveland
Linda Lee Vecchio Sensei, 6th dan, Shihan, is the chief instructor of Aikido of Cleveland. Vecchio Sensei received her first degree black belt in 1969. She beame Chief Instructor of Cleveland Aikikai which later became Aikido of Cleveland in 1969 and at the request of a group of newly returned Vietnam veterans, Vecchio Sensei started teaching at Lakeland Community College in 1972. She established the Lakeland Aikido Club in 1978. Vecchio Sensei has traveled and has taught seminars world wide. She was also the first Secretary of the United States Aikido Federation, for 10 years.
John Yaglowski Godan, 5th dan
Greater Hartford Aikikai