Birankai North America
2019 Annual Report

Data from Jan – Dec 2019

Together We Train

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.

Together We Are A Community of Practice

Image Credit: Thea Oatman

49 Dojos

Birankai North America has schools are located throughout the U.S. plus 3 in B.C. Canada.

Image Credit: Thea Oatman

94 Certified Instructors

  • 11 shihan
  • 48 shidoin
  • 35 fukushidoin 

Data comes from BNA member dojos, as reported
in February of 2019

Image Credit: Thea Oatman

643 Members

Includes students who paid annual BNA fees and appear on the annual roster, as reported by BNA dojos in 2019

 Membership consists of approximately 260 yudansha and 383 kyu ranks

Letter from our President

I am pleased that you have in your hands, or on your computer screen, the first edition of Birankai’s annual report. Under the leadership of board member Suzane Van Amburgh, our Communications Team has created a document which will give you a high-level view of Birankai North America in 2019.

Yet as I write this, it is the end of July 2020! And this year has brought us a great deal of change and turmoil. In spite of that, we have decided to begin our reporting with 2019 so that you will have a baseline against which to compare the current, and future, years.

As a reminder of what we saw in 2019 – we transitioned the chairs of both the board and the Senior Council. We had a successful (and exhilarating!) summer camp with Piotr Masztalerz, chief instructor of Wroclaw Aikikai, Poland, as our guest instructor. Ten people attended camp on scholarship who might not otherwise have attended. We brought onboard a new Registrar, Mary Malmros, and introduced the Living Well Aikido Store – which has exclusive rights to sell Birankai merchandise – under the capable proprietorship of Read Omohundro, chief instructor of Living Well Aikido. We counted 643 members and 49 dojos, and registered the dan promotions of 19 individuals. Four dojos received seminar grants to enable them to host seminars. You will find additional information throughout this report.

Like many other aikido organizations, we began to actively address what the future holds for us as aikidoka. In late fall, we initiated a visioning effort, Birankai in 2025, and began having conversations across the organization about what we want Birankai to look like five years out. A Visioning Team went through pages and pages of survey responses, and summarized those responses into a vision that we hope will guide us forward in the coming months and years. We will discuss that initiative more in 2020 publications, and in next year’s annual report.

In the meantime, we hope you find this publication of interest and value. Let us know what you think.

– Deb Pastors, President

Together We Are Strong

Membership by Region

Proportion of Dojos and Members
by Geographic Region
(as of July 2020)  

Active BNA Instructors

Proportion of Teachers by Teaching Rank, Age Group and Gender*   
*Gender data collected from Aikikai Hombu Dojo requirement
(as of July 2020)

BNA Volunteers – 2019

Volunteer Titles and Roles

Thank you to all our Volunteers!

BNA Administrative Volunteers Include:

  • Biran Editor: Mark Reid
  • Dan Registrar: Mary Malmos
  • Ethics Committee: Maureen Browne, Chair
  • Executive Director: Neilu Naini
  • Grants Committee: Ed Hernandez, Chair
  • Medical Director: in 2019 the office transitioned from Mark Goudsblom to Don McKay
  • Membership Coordinator: Suzanne Gonzales-Webb
  • Raffle Committee: Sarah Kaylor, Chair
  • Scholarship Committee: Terri Park, Chair
  • Seminar & BNA Communications Coordinators: Mike Head and Carolyn Parkinson
  • Summer Camp Committee: Leslie Cohen, Camp Coordinator
  • Summer Camp Registrar: Julian Frost
  • Youth Committee: Norine Longmire, Chair

We are as rich as the volunteer efforts people contribute. We are a community driven by volunteerism. We maintain just one part time administrative employee. 

  • Frank Apodaca – Deep River Aikikai
  • Martine Baruch – Brooklyn Aikikai
  • Dennis Belt – Ventura Aikikai
  • Pat Belt – Ventura Aikikai
  • Darrell Bluhm – Siskiyou Aikikai
  • John Brinsley – Aikido Daiwa
  • Maureen Browne – Fox Valley Aikikai
  • Joe Canon – Corvalis Aikikai
  • Archie Champion – Central Coast Aikikai
  • Lucy Clark – Brooklyn Aikikai
  • Gerrie Clemons – Oak Park Aikikai
  • Leslie Cohen – San Diego Aikikai
  • Greg Corbin – Multnomah Aikikai
  • Diane Deskin – Sonoran Aikikai
  • Dave Dewberry – Multnomah Aikikai
  • Cindy Eggers – Siskiyou Aikikai
  • Joanne Fogel – North County Aikikai
  • Julian Frost – San Diego Aikikai
  • Suzanne Gonzales-Webb – Desert Aikikai
  • Mark Goudsblom – Aikido Takayama Society
  • Elizabeth Goward – Eugene Aikikai
  • Tom Grimaldi – Copper Mountain Aiki Budo
  • Jobe Groot – Mountain Coast Aikikai
  • Mike Head – Aikido Daiwa
  • Roo Heins – Grand Rapids Aikikai
  • Ed Hernandez – New Tampa Aikikai
  • Enmei Hunter – Logan Square Aikido
  • Keith Irby – Fox Valley Aikikai
  • Joshua Karlin – Aikido Daiwa
  • Sarah Kaylor – Brooklyn Aikikai
  • Norine Longmire – Aikido Takayama Society
  • Elizabeth (Lizzy) Lynn – At Large
  • Mary Malmros – Green River Aikido
  • Marci Martinez – Grass Valley Aikikai
  • Dave Mata – Grand Rapids Aikikai
  • Don McKay – Green River Aikido
  • Bill Meckel – Eugene Aikikai
  • Cindy Moore – San Diego Aikikai
  • Kim O’Malley – Bucks County Aikikai
  • Read Omohundro – Three Forks Aikikai
  • Terri Park – Huron Valley Aikikai
  • Deb Pastors – Oak Park Aikikai
  • Alex Peterson – Summit Aikikai
  • Cecilia Ramos – Grass Valley Aikikai
  • Mark Reid – New Tampa Aikikai
  • Tim Reynolds – North County Aikikai
  • Kate Savoca – Brooklyn Aikikai
  • Rob Schenk – Aikido Institute of San Francisco
  • Theresa Thadani – Aikido Institute of San Francisco
  • Steve Thoms – Eugene Aikikai
  • Suzane Van Amburgh – Multnomah Aikikai
  • Michael Werth – Rhode Island Aikikai
  • Jan Arkless Wilson – San Diego Aikikai
  • Roger Wright – Ventura Aikikai
  • Nathan Young – Multnomah Aikikai

Together We Improve

BNA is governed by three bodies: The Senior Council, the Teachers’ Council, and the Board of Directors.
All roles are filled by volunteers!

The Senior Council (SC)

Consists of all active BNA Shihan, plus the Chair of the Teachers’ Council.

Officers within the 2019 Senior Council include:

  • Chair of Senior Council: Frank Apodaca
  • Deputy Chair of Senior Council: David Stier
  • Senior Advisor: Elizabeth Lynn
  • Liaison to Hombu Dojo: John Brinsley (Shidoin)

The Teachers Council

(TC) consists of all active BNA Shidoin, plus Fukushidoin who are Chief Instructors.

2019 Officers of the Teachers Council:
  • TC Chair: Roo (Katherine) Heins
  • TC Secretary: in 2019, the office transitioned from Enmei Hunter to Eric Doss
  • The Board of Directors

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: In 2019 the office of the president transitioned from Alex Peterson to Debbie Pastors

2019 Directors:

  • Dennis Belt (Senior Council liaison)
  • Deena Drake
  • Steve Thoms
  • Todd Fessenden
  • Suzane Van Amburgh (Teachers Council liaison)
  • RC Miles
  • Mark Sharp


Non-voting officers:

  • Corporate Secretary: Jan Arkless-Wilson,
  • Treasurer: In 2019 the office transitioned from Todd Fessenden to Joshua Karlin

Together We Are Resilient

  • Summer camp 2019 was held in Tacoma, Washington

  • $5,000 in scholarships awarded to 10 BNA members to attend 2019 Summer Camp

  • $5,450 seminar grants awarded to BNA dojos in 2019

For 2019, other than grants to help fund seminars by our member dojos to promote the teachings of our founder, T. K. Chiba Shihan, the Birankai North America budget was relatively balanced with an expected deficit total of $12,000. Many of these funds were used for Seminar Grants and extra Summer Camp Scholarships, which are subsidized by proceeds from the raffle during camp. Summer camp ended up being revenue neutral. Income from annual dues was spent on administration, communication, and operating expenses. Dan Registration fees are kept at a minimum to only cover expenses, which are not reflected in these charts due to the way we are invoiced.

Joshua Karlin

BNA Treasurer

Together We Grow

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 at: