Aiki Extensions (AE) was founded in 1998 by University of Chicago sociology professor, dean, and aikido instructor Don Levine. Don’s early efforts were inspired by the work of Wendy Palmer, Philip
Emminger, and others around the world who were applying the wisdom of aikido in nontraditional, “off-the-mat” settings.
AE’s initial membership included about 20 U.S. collaborators, but quickly grew to include supporters in Germany, where Dr. Peter Schettgen organized three conferences and served on the AE Board of Directors, and the UK, due in large part to the efforts of Mark Walsh. AE now has members throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere. Continued international development remains a primary goal.
Several hallmark events have characterized AE’s first 15 years, including the 2005 Training Across Borders seminar in Cyprus, which brought together 100 aikidoka
from conflict regions around the world to train and to replace stereotype and fear with trust and understanding.
In 2004, Don Levine – an Ethiopian scholar – visited the Awassa Youth Campus for the first time, and not long after, the Hawassa (nee Awassa) Dojo was born. The dojo provides regular training for nearly 200 boys and girls, and is one of AE’s longest running and most successful programs.
Today, Aiki Extensions supports a thriving international network of members, sponsors and supports aiki-based programs and conferences around the world, and promotes aikido’s peace making and capacity worldwide.