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Birankai North America
Annual Report

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

Image Credit: Thea Oatman

46 Dojos

44 affiliated schools in the U.S
2 affiliated schools in Canada


Image Credit: Thea Oatman

99 Certified Instructors

16 Shihan
52 Shidoin
31 Fukushidoin

Image Credit: Thea Oatman

514 Members

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. 


Todd Fessenden

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

2021 Directors:

Dennis Belt (Senior Council Appointee)
Suzane Van Amburgh (Teachers’ Council Appointee) 
Deena Drake
Todd Fessenden
RC Miles
Mark Sharp

Non-voting officers:

•  Corporate Secretary: Jan Arkless-Wilson, transition to Gerard Enriquez
•  Treasurer:  Joshua Karlin
•  Executive Director:  Neilu Naini

Program Volunteers 

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

Community Volunteers

Meet the volunteers who have generously given their time, energy and talents to support our community in 2021:

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!

Financial Report

BNA Income Chart 2021
BNA Expenses Chart 2021

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.

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