The USAF is an organization of long standing relationships and shared experiences. With over half a century of history, at its core is the teacher-student relationship. The USAF provides a structure for independent dojos to maintain connections, perpetuate the lineage of their teachers, to receive rank and to participate in events with fellow members. It is a de-centralized hub for the sharing of information and for facilitating support for one another in Aikido and in friendship. Equality, respect, compassion and civility is expected of all members, both on and off the mat.
The USAF, among other things:
(i) provides its membership a pathway to attain Aikikai dan ranks;
(ii) preserves our lineage to our teachers;
(iii) encourages excellence in its standards of instruction, practice and promotions, and
(iv) offers a community for practitioners and friendships to grow as aikidoka and human beings
(v) maintains open communication with its instructors through a variety of platforms
(vi) provides instructors with methods for community participation and sharing of information
(vii) promotes & supports dojo activities, seminars, articles, etc
(vii) organizes an annual Summer Camp featuring guest(s) from Hombu DOjo in addition to USAF senior instructors.
(vii) provides annual scholarships to attend summer camp.
Governance of the USAF is through the Board of Directors, the Technical Committee and Yamada Sensei as USAF Technical Advisor. Day-to-day operations are handled by the Director of Operations. The Technical Committee is a Committee of the USAF, and is one of the requirements for Aikikai affiliation. The rank of 7th dan is one of many USAF critera to be eligible for the Technical Committee. As the USAF founding Shihan were contemporaries who came to the United States to introduce and grow the practice of Aikido, the current Technical Committee was formed on the same premise. These are the close students of the Shihan who arrived from Japan, those who followed and learned from them for decades and therefore bring technical and personal maturity to the USAF. Chosen by Yamada Sensei, their history and experience are important for maintaining the lineage of those who came before us.
All Board and Committee members are volunteers, donating their time, expertise and experience to ensure that policies and decisions reflect the best interest of the USAF and its members. Committees of the Board include but are not limited to: The Working Group, the Nominating Committee, and the Financial Oversight Committee. Additional committees include Donation Policy & Membership Regulations.
The USAF works diligently to provide transparency through various methods of communications and offers administrative support to Chief Instructors and dojo-cho. There is an application process for a dojo to join the USAF, and individuals gain membership by belonging to a USAF dojo. The USAF does not interfere with the internal workings of a dojo, as they are run autonomously and independently. Maintaining membership requires acting in accordance with the USAF Membership Regulations, Code of Conduct, USAF Testing Requirements and other USAF policies and procedures.