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Old 06-26-2003, 11:47 AM   #1
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Angry Member of USAF or not?

I have been a member, or I thought I was a member, of the USAF for over 5 years. Each year I have tested at my dojo and I have paid my testing fee to the Chief Instructor and each year filled out the appropriate papers to be submitted to the federation. Well, 5 years later and a bit peeved, I find out that I have never been registed with the USAF, the Chief Instructor has not been submitting any paperwork for the past 5 years. I do not have a USAF membership number and I plan to move to another state next month. What happens when I go to the new dojo and say that I'm a first kyu and a member of the USAF, but in reality I am not? I have brought this topic up the the chief instructor each year, and he is one, non-approachable, and then he says he'll get back and he doesn't. Other members are upset about this as well. What is the proper way to go about clearing up my membership with the federation.
Any help/suggestion would be appreciated!!!
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Old 06-26-2003, 12:03 PM   #2
Eric Joyce
Dojo: Budoshingikan
Location: Gilbert, AZ
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Reported the fool to the USAF and expalin your situation. Sorry to hear that happened to you.

Eric Joyce
Otake Han Doshin Ryu Jujutsu
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Old 06-26-2003, 12:39 PM   #3
Larry Feldman
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I agree with Eric.

In addition if there is some other teacher from USAF that you know or worked out with, that could 'vouch' for your time and skill level that might help.
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Old 06-26-2003, 12:50 PM   #4
Greg Jennings
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Write a factual letter to the USAF. Include copies of supporting documentation like kyu certificates, checks, e-mails, etc.

If you don't get any satisfaction, get in touch with me.

Greg Jennings
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Old 06-26-2003, 01:22 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies. I do have copies of my checks, kyu certificates and also video (ha!).

Also, I attend many seminars a year (avg. 15 per year) and know the Shihan in my region. I guess this is why I haven't really made it an issue, but with my moving, I just don't want any hassles.

I completely understand Aikido is not about rank, but why pay to be a member of a federation, and the monies do not go to the federation????
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Old 06-26-2003, 01:29 PM   #6
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
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First, which region of the USAF are you supposed to be part of?
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Old 06-26-2003, 01:48 PM   #7
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Eastern Region
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Old 06-26-2003, 01:52 PM   #8
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Then you should contact the general secretary, Susan Wolk Sensei and ask her how to proceed. You have been paying your dues I assume?

If you want to contact me, you can do so, I don't know if I can help, but I am also a member of the ER.

best,

Rachel

rachmass@provide.net
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Old 06-26-2003, 01:57 PM   #9
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I tried contacting Susan Wolk about 2 years ago and she told me that I needed to contact the Chief Instructor directly. I will try again, now that it has been an additional two years since that last contact.

Yes, I am definately paid up, every year for the past 5 years. But paper work and monies were never submitted to USAF, even after I asked if I could make the check out directly to USAF instead of the dojo where I train.

It's very disturbing to have to go to this forum, but I just wanted to see if this was happening anywhere else, or common, or it's just my bad choice in dojos.
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Old 06-26-2003, 02:10 PM   #10
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Suggest trying her again (or Laura Jacobs Pavlick sensei who is now working with her), or contact your CI and let him/her know that you are moving and would like a referral of where to train and a letter of introduction to that teacher (that might help with the situation).
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Old 06-26-2003, 02:13 PM   #11
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Rachel - thanks for your advice.

After discussing with others at the dojo where I train this has been going on and the CI have come to find out that the CI is currently not in good standings at all with the USAF. I don't want to open a can of worms, but I do not believe it is right to be a member of a federation for all these years and then find out that I haven't been.

Do you have Pavlick sensei's email address and/or contact information.
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Old 06-26-2003, 02:21 PM   #12
rachmass
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Well, if your CI was not really a member of the USAF, you might not be in a good position. I wish you the best on this! Where are you moving btw?

Pavlick Sensei's contact is: lhaikikai@optonline.net

I haven't met her, but I hear she's very nice!
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Old 06-26-2003, 05:46 PM   #13
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I agree with you, BUT will adopt Rachel's tip of contacting the "in-charge" at the federation. I would do it, though, very gently (the way of harmony, ha ). It might be that your sensei is just an administrative disaster and all paper work was too much for him/her. How was training with your sensei ? after all you've stayed for some good time...

Good luck
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Old 06-26-2003, 06:13 PM   #14
"anonymous"
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Re: Member of USAF or not?

That bites.

My teacher was in good standing, and Yamada took his money, but nothing was ever processed. After calls to Susan Wolk, nothing. Then the word came down that my sensei was not longer in good standing. It turned out to be a personal thing.

What a messed up way of conducting "professional" business.

This sort of thing embarasses people but no one bothers to name names. I would never embarass my teacher. The day after he left the aikikai his aikido was just as good as the day before.

Good riddance to that dysfunctional family. All to all of those who would defend Yamada Shihan, well, you'd better do it without question and happily 'cause this could happen to you.
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Old 06-27-2003, 06:27 AM   #15
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Dear Anon, I don't think you are the original poster of this thread, but it sounds like you are in the same dojo. Please either say who you are, or don't make these types of statements on a public forum.

Diplomacy is always better than slander, and if you have a problem with the organization you should bring it up (nicely) to the powers that be instead of trashing them anonomyously on the web.

Remember that there are at least two sides to every story.

I for one am very happy to be a member of Yamada Sensei's organization!
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Old 06-27-2003, 08:45 AM   #16
Carl Simard
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Quote:
() wrote:
Also, I attend many seminars a year (avg. 15 per year) and know the Shihan in my region.
Have you tried to contact this shihan about this issue ? He can certainly tell you what to do about it or put you in contact with someone who can solve the matter.

Usually, shihans are influential peoples within their organizations... If you know him, he may talk in your favor or give a push for this issue to be solved rapidly...
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Old 06-27-2003, 08:46 AM   #17
jimbaker
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk/ Aikido Society of Memphis
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Sorry, but there a couple of odd things here.

The first Anonymous says he/she has kyu certificates. All kyu certificates come from the USAF and would be proof that they are a member, since they won't issue a certificate unless the person is paid up. If the ku cert is something drawn up by the local school, then he/she might never have been a member.

As for the second Anonymous, Yamada Shihan is a very easygoing and forgiving man, with one exception; if you rip off a student, you are out.

Now I don't know if this refers to your dojos, but as an example: several years ago a teacher stopped sending in the dues given to him by students. This went on for a number of years. The USAF tends to just let this go for a while, hoping the teacher will just catch up later. Then one camp a student showed up from this school to test for blask belt. His dues had never been paid, nor were there records of his past ranks. It turned out that he had paid his teacher something like $2000 as a fee for this test, which he assumed had been sent to the USAF. At that time, the yudansha test fee was about $100 (almost all of which went to Hombu for the big certificate and passport thing). Yamada Shihan did test the poor guy, but bounced his teacher out of the USAF for ripping off a student. This had to be over five years ago. That teacher still has has on the website that they're members of the USAF, although that could just mean they haven't updated for a long time.

I won't pretend that the USAF is perfect, but I don't think the office has ever lost the paperwork for a whole dojo for several years. And if someone is told they have to speak to Yamada Shihan, it means that Yamada Shihan wants to know the facts personally so he can be assured that they are made right.

By the way, Yamada Shihan asks that the teacher of a student who is taking a dan test be there to watch the test. This way, if the student does a really rotten test, Yamada Shihan can say encouraging things to the student and then go upbraid the TEACHER for the failure.

Jim Baker

USAF-East

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk
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Old 06-27-2003, 09:26 AM   #18
rachmass
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Good post Jim! I think you said everything that needed to be said.
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Old 06-27-2003, 11:05 AM   #19
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Thank all of your for your responses. I love Aikido and the dojo where I train is convenient. If I didn't like where I train, I would have moved on, but the people are good people and I am fortunate that I have met them through my years of practice. The only reason for this post is that I am moving, and know that I do not "exist" as far as paperwork/dues is concerned, although I have paid USAF dues annually since I started Aikido over 5 years ago.

I will try contacting S. Wolk again. In these posts I do not believe that I have said anything sour about Yamada sensei nor the organization he represents. The direction of the post is at the CI of the dojo and what I need to do and others at my dojo, to be recognized by the federation that we have paid to be a member of...
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Old 06-27-2003, 12:28 PM   #20
jimbaker
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk/ Aikido Society of Memphis
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Good for you!

The sour coments were from Anonymous 2.

Let us know what the USAF says, especially since you can show that you paid your annual dues. And make sure that you let Yamada Shihan know what's going on.

You should also have no trouble at your new dojo. The worse case is that you'd have to take one more test. My way of handling this has been to simply have students coming from unrecognized groups take a test where I'd call out techniques from fifth kyu on up, until they hit their limit of knowledge or ability. You also compare them against other students and see where they fit in the ranks. Since you're coming from the same background, you'll probably wind up in the right kyu anyway.

Or the USAF might just clean the slate and recognize you guys.

It always amazes me how something so good can get so screwed up on occasion!

Jim Baker

Norfolk, VA

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk
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Old 06-27-2003, 01:05 PM   #21
Carl Simard
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I'm just wondering, is it possible for the USAF to do something to make this kind people cease using the USAF name ?
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Old 06-27-2003, 02:04 PM   #22
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Will keep you all posted. I will contact Wolk sensei on Monday, as I believe she is out of town.

Thanks for hearing me out and I don't mind testing, I just was upset that now, after all these years and newer students are questioning when should the be receiving their USAF number, etc., along with my moving, I just wanted to try and get this resolved.
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Old 06-27-2003, 02:11 PM   #23
rachmass
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I don't think anyone took your post in a way that you were bitter, just wanted to get it worked out. Anon 2 on the otherhand wrote:

"My teacher was in good standing, and Yamada took his money, but nothing was ever processed. After calls to Susan Wolk, nothing. Then the word came down that my sensei was not longer in good standing. It turned out to be a personal thing.

What a messed up way of conducting "professional" business.

This sort of thing embarasses people but no one bothers to name names. I would never embarass my teacher. The day after he left the aikikai his aikido was just as good as the day before.

Good riddance to that dysfunctional family. All to all of those who would defend Yamada Shihan, well, you'd better do it without question and happily 'cause this could happen to you."

this was the post I got my dander up about, and most likely the same one that Jim Baker did too.

Good luck on getting this worked out!

Are you going to another USAF dojo when you move?
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Old 06-27-2003, 03:13 PM   #24
"Anon 2"
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For the record, the situation given in my post has no connection with any other Chief Instructor mentioned in this thread.

There are indeed 2 sides to every story although Rachel and Jim seriously considered just the one that best fits their image of your esteemed Shihan. Good for you. I mean that literally, good for you. You defended the person to whom you owe a lot, which was expected, and happily too, no big deal to me.

Don't forget a Shihan is just human; remember those stories too, as ugly as they are, forgive and continue.
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Old 06-27-2003, 03:16 PM   #25
aikidoc
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Sometimes these things go the other way as well. Recently, we had a student start training with us claiming to be a USAF shodan supposedly off the mat for 2 years while in the military. He first told us his sho sho was packed in his belongings and he could not get to it; then it was in the mail; then it was lost; and lastly he paid the instructor and he ran with the money.

I believe the USAF test like any other aikikai affiliated dojo. There are forms to fill out and fees to pay before you step out for the testing mat in front of a test committee. So, bottom line is we were being fed a line of crap. Checked with the aikikai and no record. Thats when the instructor stole the money excuse came up. Checked with NY Aikikai and no record of the guy. He did provide a USAF 1st kyu certificate which looked legitimate but couldn't be verified with Susan Volk-fortunately, he left. We suspect he thought he could get by with elevating himself to shodan in a small town and no one would know-I verify all rank (kyu and dan).

Honesty is always the best policy.
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