History of the Youth Program
The Youth Program was led by Lewis Cuffy for 26 years until his passing in 2021. Lewis, a Godan (5th Dan) in Aikido, was also a senior instructor of the adult classes, a pillar of Aikido Shobukan Dojo and a mentor to young and adults in our diverse Aikido Schools of Ueshiba community.
Together with Lewis Cuffy, Sara Bluestone—also a Godan (5th Dan) in Aikido, and who initiated her training at Saotome Sensei’s first dojo in Sarasota, Florida in 1976 and moved in 1977 to Washington, D.C. to train at the Aikido Shobukan Dojo—led the Youth Program for several years. Today Sara remains an advisor and mentor of the program.
The Youth Program continues based on the teachings of Saotome Sensei and the foundations laid out by Lewis Cuffy and Sara Bluestone.
Youth Program Instructors
Our instructors for the Children and Teen Youth Program have been members of the dojo, students of Saotome Shihan, and are dedicated to the mission of aikido. The program has a lead instructor and helping instructors, many of whom are parents who also practice Aikido. Teens who have practiced Aikido for a few years at the dojo have also become helpers and mentors in the Children Classes.
Jose Antonio Rivas-Campo
Jose Antonio Rivas-Campo began his aikido study in 2000 at Aikido Shobukan Dojo, is a Sandan (3rd Dan) in Aikido and for many years before 2006 and after 2014, he assisted as a helping instructor of the Youth Program led by Lewis Cuffy and Sara Bluestone. He leads the Youth Program since 2022. Jose Antonio is an attorney working in private practice in public international law and investment arbitration and is an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University.
Membership in the Youth Program follows the school year calendar. The Youth Program offers Children’s classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday and teens classes on Thursdays and Saturdays.
During normal operations, we offer approximately five classes a week for your children or teens in our youth program. Please note that these hours apply during the school year.