Dear Dojo Community,
In no particular order, as our year comes to a close, I've been thinking about how the 4 aspects of our martial arts dojo and community have subtly changed over the past year.
Our Aikido lineage has now been formally (and finally!) connected to Aikido Hombu dojo via Jan Nevelius Sensei, 6th Dan Aikikai, through Frits Habermann, 4th Dan Aikikai, and now to me (gulp), John Peng, 2nd Dan Aikikai. I think we've passed the nadir of our student attrition and are back on the rise with a strong core of dedicated up and coming students whom I have the pleasure of training with twice weekly now.
Our Children's Aikido program continues to flourish under the guidance and eternal patience of Helmut Floss, 4th Dan Aikikai. We would not be where we are today without him, literally and figuratively. We are all very thankful for his presence and participation in our community.
Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu USA has now been formally assigned to Chris Moses as Chief Instructor, having the mantle passed from Robby Pellett. Jeremy Hulley has also been promoted by Robby to Renshi in the art. We are all very grateful for Robby Pellett's leadership and influence for the many years he has been a member of Seattle School of Aikido, and will miss him dearly as he starts his new life outside of Seattle.
Icho Ryu Aikibudo continues to be the martial enigma that it is supposed to be, and Neil Yamamoto's influence in our community and culture is also greatly appreciated.
As a reminder to all, our Instructors and Board members all volunteer their time and energy to preserving our training space. It truly is a labor of love for us to help manage the nuts and bolts of running this non-profit corporation. There are NO paid positions at Seattle School; we are truly a Co-Op of dedicated people trying to preserve our community.
Rent and utilities don't get paid by themselves, so thank you all for your timely dues payments. And although I hate to ask, our finances dictate that I should. So let me just say that donations are always welcome at any and all times. The extra inflow of funds allows us to provide scholarships for those students with financial hardship, and to make capital improvements for our training space.
So If any of you have any leftover money that is planned for your favorite charity but not yet spent, consider making our dojo your favorite charity! Click the paypal button to the left or write a check to the dojo, and I'll make sure you get a letter for your tax write-off (dues payments unfortunately can't be donated).
And last, but not least, I wanted to extend many heartfelt thanks to all the parents, partners, spouses, friends, and other supporters who allow us to train and grow in our art(s), and ultimately, ourselves.
Peace and good health to you all this Holiday Season, and have a safe and Happy New Year!
Domo Arigato Gozaimashita,
- John Peng
Seattle School of Aikido