REPORT ON THE 9TH INTERNATIONAL AIKIDO FEDERATION CONGRESS
By Yamada Sensei
The 9th Congress of the International Aikido Federation (IAF) was held
in Tokyo from September 7th through the 19th. In addition to the
congress, an aikido seminar was held. This time, I attended the
meetings with Mr. Michael Abrams, the president of the USAF.
As you may know, the USAF resigned from the IAF eight years ago in
protest over several of their policies, which we felt were unfair.
Chief among them was the policy that allows only one national
organization from each country to be recognized by the IAF. At that
time, we thought our resignation was the only way to get the IAF to
reconsider. We believed such a policy didn't make sense in light of
the fact that there had been a proliferation of aikido organizations
within many countries and it seemed unfair not to recognize them. As a
matter of fact, there are probably more aikido practitioners in the
world who don't belong to the IAF than the number who are actual
We have now officially rejoined the IAF and have been welcomed by the
member countries. The reason for our strategy shift was our realization
that the solution to fixing IAF policies was not to quit the
organization; upon reflection, that was an immature reaction. It makes
more sense to try to change their policies by being an active member. I
believe the IAF might make tremendous improvements and it would be a
shame to have the new generation of USAF member miss out on the
There are still many aspects of IAF policy that should be
reconsidered, but it is a fact that they have made some improvements,
such as adding a seminar on to the congress agenda that was open to
everybody. The reason I went with Mike Abrams was to start having a new
USAF generation participate in the meetings. The USAF is one of the
biggest aikido organizations in the world and we are capable of
assuming a strong leadership role in the future.
I'd also like to introduce the IAF to what I call our 3 F's:
Friendship, Freedom and Flexibility.