A few words about the year we are about to end and also about the future one from the IAF Chairman, mr. Kei Izawa, and IAF General Secretary, mr. Wilko Vriesman:
”Greetings to all the aikidokas in the world at the end of this historically and challenging 2020!
We, at the IAF, have never seen anything like this and I presume most of you have never experienced a situation like this.
This has impacted a lot of our activities which our General Secretary will explain to you later, but we would like to keep the flame high and burning as this challenge has given us a tremendous opportunity to look inside and to looke at the value that aikido can offer us when we practice with partners on the tatami.
Yes, it was indeed a very challenging year. First time we had a worldwide pandemic and a lockdown, when most dojos have closed. For us, we had to postpone the summit, that also never happened before, and we shifted very quickly to all kind of internet events, which was also a challenging part - how to organize it. A lot of zoom classes and things were done on internet in a way we never did before.
So we hope to see you soon on the tatami because internet alone doesn't keep the free spirit of aikido, although it keeps the flame alive. We need to see each other on the tatami.
IAF has been planning to do many events in 2021 and we will go into further specifics as the time comes. We are still not sure when we will be able to travel, get together and be on the mat as we love to do. But we certainly are preparing and we have many plans and hope that we can meet with many of the friends around the world and to train in the spirit of aikido.
Let me read a quote of O-Sensei, which says the following: “Life itself is always a trial. In training, you must test and polish yourself in order to face the great challenges of life. Transcend the realm of life and death, and then you will be able to make your way calmly and safely through any crisis that confronts you.”
We will meet the challenges, we will get together again and we will like to happily train together on the mat.
In 2021, besides meeting each other on the mat again and hopefully we will have passed the lockdown situation and the dojos are open, we hold our not-normal general assembly one year later that it was supposed to be, but it will be there. It will be there either in a hybrid form, where people can travel and come while others will not be able to travel and will stay at home and use the internet, or if the circumstances allow so, we go fully by internet. This will be the first time we do it like that, so it will be a new experience to sit behind the screens and to have a general assembly, but it is our firm to mentain the right spirit and to keep the aikido flame alive.
From all of us from IAF, we wish that we all gather around those that we love, sometimes together, sometimes from a distance, but we use this time to value all the things that aikido has been teaching us and we save our energy and we go to 2021 with high hopes to be on the mat together and happy new year to all of you!”