I hope you are all in good health and training hard. In Japan, the winter was quite severe, but spring has come and in Hiroshima the cherry blossoms were in bloom last week and the hanami parties were in full swing. (O-hanami parties are a traditional Japanese way of eating and drinking with friends under the cherry trees. 'Hanami' actually means 'flower viewing', but in my experience the emphasis has usually been on the eating and drinking, with the cherry blossoms providing a very pleasant backdrop.)
In my earlier New Year greetings, I mentioned that the IAF will hold its Directing Committee Meeting in 2014. As you know, the IAF holds meetings as a federation every two years. Meetings of the IAF Directing Committee are held every two years and an IAF Congress is held every four years. The last Congress took place in 2012 and we are now preparing for the Directing Committee Meeting, to be held in 2014. IAF committee meetings are usually attended by the committee members, but members of the Senior Council, Technical Council and the two IAF Auditors can attend as observers.
It is a tradition to hold a training seminar to coincide with the committee meeting and the seminar is open to all aikido practitioners and membership of an IAF member federation is not a condition for participating at the seminar. The seminar will be held on 11-14 September, at Cluj Napoca, Romania and is being organized by the Romanian Aikikai Aikido Foundation, under the leadership of Mr Dorin Marchis.
For this seminar, we are honoured to host a very distinguished instructor. Mr Mitsuteru Ueshiba, Acting Head of the Hombu Dojo, has kindly agreed to be the main instructor at the seminar and he will be supported by other senior instructors in the IAF.
Looking forward to seeing you in Romania in September!