“The world needs aikido more than ever, and we have just the place for it.”
–Steve Pimsler Sensei, New York Aikikai
Click here to view the Campaign Video
On October 28, 2023, New York Aikikai launched the public phase of its capital campaign with a kickoff party in the dojo on 18th Street in Manhattan. Almost 200 members, friends, and supporters attended, and we announced that we raised 75% of our $490,000 base goal. At present we have raised 93.43% of our primary goal, leaving us with $32,173 to go before we begin reaching for our stretch goals.
All are welcome and invited to pledge and donate to the campaign, which, as David Katz, New York Aikikai Vice President says, will “renovate and refurbish the building, change systems, and relay out some of the spaces. These are improvements that are required and make the experience better.”
The party was the first large gathering at the New York Aikikai since the passing of Yamada Sensei in January of this year and we gathered for his memorial in March. Sharon Dominguez, NY Aikikai Board President says “every step of the way over the last many months, I love how we all came together to mourn, to train hard, to carry on. Preparing for our kickoff party, a group of us solicited pledges. There was a committee who organized and set up the party, which culminated in a joyous event whose success is still resonating throughout the dojo...”
This may sound like an overstatement, but if you take the time to think it through, you’ll understand why the New York Aikikai is inextricably connected to our home on West 18th Street, not only because of our past, but because of a vibrant present, and our dreams for the future.
It is not an exaggeration to say that our location positions us uniquely as a hub for the global aikido community. While aikido is practiced in dojos across the New York Metro region and around the world, dojo chos and their students come to us to train and refine their teaching. Decades of practice, connection, intention, laughter, frustration, and striving for transcendence have permeated these walls with the intangible, yet palpable atmosphere that we feel when we enter here.
If our address and our building are highly prized assets, the spirit of this place is an irreplaceable gift. It is a collective memory that infuses all that we do here and provides the foundation upon which we build each layer of artistry in our progress toward becoming the best versions of ourselves that we can be, within the dojo and in our lives outside.
With these gifts comes a responsibility to care for our space, to bring the same discipline and heart to maintaining it and improving it that it allows us to do for ourselves, and to be sure that it is serving our community to the fullest capacity.
It is the dawn of a new era in which we are coming to realize that while our past has brought us to where we are, it does not define us. Yamada Sensei may have known this, but we are learning it—that his leadership was one wave on a vast ocean of practice that is greater than any one of us; that is vital and alive and calling us forward to deeper connection—life-changing, multi-generational, ever-evolving practice.
In addition to fundraising through individual pledges and donations, several dojos have gathered resources to honor their relationship with the New York Aikikai. We will be announcing this list soon. Boston Aikikai and Montérégie Aikikai Aikido have also hosted fundraising seminars, and on November 16, 2023 Aikido of Westchester will hold a seminar with Steve Pimsler and Sharon Dominguez, and on March 22-24, 2024 Aikido of New London County will host a seminar with Angela Murphy, Jamie Kahn, and Crystal Aldrich.
Pledges can be made over a three year period, and we also welcome one-time donations. And as always, all are welcome to come train with us.
photo credit: Javier Dominguez