Birankai North America
For Fiscal year: Jan-Dec 2021
Together We Persevere
Birankai North America
We are an association of Aikido practitioners and dojos founded by T.K. Chiba, Shihan,
forged by rigorous training, tempered by mutual respect,
and committed to the relentless pursuit of the art.
We Are A Community of Practice
44 affiliated schools in the U.S
2 affiliated schools in Canada
99 Certified Instructors
275 Dan Ranked Members
239 Kyu Ranked Members
Letter from our President
Dear Fellow Birankai Members,
I apologize for the late delivery of the 2022 Annual Report on our activities of fiscal year 2021. While it is untimely in a variety of ways, it is nevertheless a marker on the timeline of our organization. We are playing a game of catch-up, primarily due to all of the personnel changes we have had in the last couple of years at the Board and officer level. We value each and every one of you and want you to be informed of how the Board is managing the organization as well as general trends within our organization.
We will be delivering a new report earlier in 2023 to capture the activities of 2022, which was a new and inspiring year in many ways.
I know many of you are still reeling from the losses that came with the pandemic and the many challenges that continue to ensue. The Board and I are working steadfastly to support the organization, and we are all driven by a desire to preserve and grow Sensei’s legacy and vision. We are here to support you.
Thank You To Our Volunteers
We are a community driven by volunteerism, and we are enriched through the volunteer efforts of our members.
BNA members of all ranks and all ages have generously given of their time, energy and talents in 2021. They are the hands and heart of the organization. Some serve as community volunteers, some lead team projects or administer programs, and others serve in governance to set direction and initiate community projects.
Volunteers in BNA Governance
Birankai North America is governed by three bodies:
The Senior Council, the Teachers’ Council and the Board of Directors.
All of the roles in these governing bodies are filled by volunteers!
The Senior Council (SC)
Consists of all active BNA Shihan, plus the Chair of the Teachers’ Council.
Officers of the Senior Council in 2021:
• Chair: Robert Savoca
• Deputy Chair: David Stier
• Senior Advisor: Darrell Bluhm
• Liaison to Hombu Dojo: John Brinsley
The Teachers Council (TC)
Made up of all active BNA Shidoin, plus Fukushidoin, who are Chief Instructors of a dojo.
Officers of the Teachers Council in 2021:
• TC Chair: John Brinsley
• TC Secretary: Eric Doss
The Board of Directors (BOD)
The BNA Board of Directors are active BNA members with significant experience within the organization and include at least one Shihan selected by the Senior Council and one Shidoin selected by the Teachers’ Council.
BNA President: Deb Pastors
• Dennis Belt (Senior Council Appointee)
• Suzane Van Amburgh (Teachers’ Council Appointee)
• Deena Drake
• Todd Fessenden
• RC Miles
• Mark Sharp
• Corporate Secretary: Jan Arkless-Wilson, transition to Gerard Enriquez
• Treasurer: Joshua Karlin
• Executive Director: Neilu Naini
Meet the volunteers who have served leading teams or administering BNA programs during 2021:
Biran Editor: Mark Reid
Communications Committee: Suzane Van Amburgh, Chair
Communications Outreach: Thea Oatman
Dan Registrar: Mary Malmros
Ethics Committee: Maureen Browne, Chair – transition to Tom Grimaldi
Grants Committee: Ed Hernandez, Chair
Medical Director: Don McKay
Membership Coordinator: Suzanne Gonzales-Webb
Seminar & Communications Coordinator: Carrie Parkinson
Scholarship Committee: Terri Park, Chair
Systems Administrator: Cindy Moore
Video Curator: Rob Schenk
Website Administration: Jobe Groot; Thierry Diagana
Youth Committee Chair: Norine Longmire
Frank Apodaca – Deep River Aikido
Dennis Belt – Ventura Aikikai
Darrell Bluhm – Siskiyou Aikikai
John Brinsley – Aikido Daiwa
Maureen Browne – Fox Valley Aikikai
Thierry Diagana – Aikido Institute of San Francisco
Eric Doss – Lansing Area Aikikai
Deena Drake – San Diego Aikikai
Gerard Enriquez – Aikido Institure of San Francisco
Todd Fessenden – Summit Aikikai
Suzanne Gonzales-Webb – Desert Aikikai
Tom Grimaldi – Copper Mountain Aiki Budo
Jobe Groot – At large
Mike Head – Aikido Daiwa
Ed Hernandez – New Tampa Aikido
Joshua Karlin – Aikido Daiwa
Norine Longmire – Aikido Takayama
Elizabeth Lynn – At Large
Mary Malmros – Green River Aikido
Marci Martinez – Grass Valley Aikikai
Don McKay – Green River Aikikai
RC Miles – North County Aikikai
Cindy Moore – San Diego Aikikai
Neilu Naini – Clallam Aikikai
Thea Oatman – Lansing Area Aikikai
Read Omohundro – Living Well Aikido
Carrie Parkinson – Lansing Area Aikikai
Deb Pastors – Oak Park Aikikai
Cecilia Ramos – Grass Valley Aikikai
Mark Reid – New Tampa Aikikai
Rob Schenk – Aikido Institute of San Francisco
Mark Sharp – Oak Park Aikikai
David Stier – Green River Aikido
Kathy Stier – Green River Aikido
Suzane Van Amburgh – Multnomah Aikikai
Chris Wagner – Logan Square Aikido
Michael Werth – Rhode Island Aikikai
Jan Arkless Wilson – San Diego Aikikai
Nathan Young – Multnomah Aikikai
Thank you to all our Volunteers!
The Board has been keeping expenses conservative during the pandemic by focusing on expanding support for seminars and events, while also increasing revenue through efforts such as the collaboration with Aikido Journal to produce the online product “Power and Grace, Portrait of a Master: T.K. Chiba.” By focusing on our fundamental purpose of supporting training and limiting expenses we are poised to rebound as an organization.
Support Our Community
You can support Birankai North America dojos through donating to our Seminar Endowment Fund, individual members through our Scholarship Program, and our community through a General Donation, by shopping at AmazonSmile, or by shopping at the BNA Online Store.
Information on each program and donation option can be found on the Support Us Page.
For comments or questions about the Birankai North America Annual Report, please send us a message via our Contact Page.