A Cut Above

Birankai Aikido FundraiserOn January 3, 2015, members of Birankai dojo Fearless Heart Aikido in New Hope, Penn., participated in “1,000 Cuts for Charity Suburi-thon.” Participants committed to make 1,000 suburi cuts with the bokken and to find sponsors who would pledge a contribution for each cut.

Prior to the suburi-thon, none of the students had completed more than 100 or 200 cuts; some barely knew how to hold a bokken. For most students, a thousand cuts was pretty daunting. However, they rose to the challenge, practicing their cuts and building their endurance in the weeks leading up to the event.

Fearless Heart Aikido Chief Instructors Helen Tai and John McDevitt organized the fundraiser to celebrate the dojo’s two-year anniversary. The celebration provided an opportunity for the students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits, to improve their cutting technique, to work together toward a common goal, to have some fun, and to raise money for two very worthwhile charities.

Benefiting from the event are Fisherman’s Mark, a non-profit organization in nearby Lambertville, N.J., that offers assistance to low-income individuals and families, and the Birankai North America Seminar Endowment Fund, which supports Aikido events and scholarships.

Congratulations to the members of Fearless Heart Aikido, every one of whom completed all 1,000 cuts, and thank you to their sponsors – who donated a total of $1,820.

Learn more about the suburi-thon and watch a short movie at the Fearless Heart Aikido website.

– Helen Tai, Fearless Heart Aikido

New Year’s Promotions

Birankai North America 2015 New Year’s Promotions

6th dan

Steve Thoms, Eugene Aikikai

J. D. Sandoval, Hayward Aikido

Daniel Kempling, At Large

Manolo San Miguel, At Large

Roo Heins, Northwest Michigan Aikikai

5th dan

David Alonzo, At Large

Jamie Fucito, Copper Mountain Aikido

4th dan

James Borders, Huron Valley Aikikai

Jamie McMahon, San Diego Aikikai

3rd dan

Misa Suzuki Anekoji, San Diego Aikikai

2nd dan

Susumu Anekoji, San Diego Aikikai

1st dan

Magnus Meier, Fox Valley Aikikai


Helen Tai, Fearless Heart Aikido

Congratulations to all from Chiba Sensei and the members of the BNA Shihankai.

Happy New Year!