Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan [8th dan, Chief Instructor of New York Aikikai, President of the United States Aikido Federation (USAF)] died peacefully on Sunday, January 15.
Born in 1938, he entered aikido Hombu Dojo (headquarters) as an uchi deshi (live-in student) in 1955 at the age of 17. He first came to the U.S. in 1964 to demonstrate at the World’s Fair in New York, and assumed the position as chief instructor of New York Aikikai. At that time, he was the only aikido teacher from Japan on the East Coast.
As President of USAF, his home when visiting Chicago was naturally the Midwest Aikido Center (MAC), the local USAF member dojo. However, in the early days of American aikido and prior to the founding of MAC or USAF, he was known to visit Illinois Aikido Club, as Chicago Aikikai was originally known. Our condolences to his family, friends and students around the world. Mitsugi Saotome Shihan [Founder, Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (ASU)] is quoted on the ASU Facebook page saying ““Yamada Sensei had a huge influence on aikido in the United States and I respect him.” Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan (Founder and Chief Instructor, Boulder Aikikai) posted “We lost another great Aikido teacher, January 15th, 2023. Rest In Peace.”