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An international organization uniting aikido schools affiliated with T.K. (Kazuo) CHIBA launched in January 2000. This association is comprised mainly of dojos of the USAF Western Region, British Aikikai, and various French dojos along with their associate members in Greece, Switzerland, and Germany. The organization is registered in the U.S.A. as a nonprofit educational corporation. It has three offices: in California, London, and Strasbourg. The Birankai has a separate ranking system offered in addition to grades given by the AIKIKAI HOMBU DOJO. It also awards shihan certification. The name "Birankai" is a Buddhist term meaning a cosmic storm that occurs in the moment before cosmic order shifts. Dr. Rikko Varjan is the President.