Everyone should go to Convention every time they can. I began training at the Kuroinukan, in Duluth, Minnesota, in the mid 1990’s. For many years my Co-Sensei had one opportunity to go to an event every year: Camp Kodenkan Midwest. The two of them, Ward Melenich and Sohn Wehesler, would video-tape anything they were allowed to film, and take copious notes on everything. For the next year they would watch, rewind, pause, and even trace the dust on the screen of the TV monitor to try to understand how each technique worked.

Over time, their efforts paid off. They took what they could get once each year, brought it back to the frozen tundra of Minnesota, and drilled it until they understood it well enough to lock it away and make space for what they would learn the next year. More importantly, many people from all over the country would make it to Camp Midwest. History, relationships, and the fabric of the AJJF were being formed during those precious, annual opportunities, because everyone showed up.

Over time, events have become more frequent, travel easier, and opportunities multiplied. It would be easy only to go to local events, regardless of region, but we would all be missing opportunities.

AJJF Convention is special. It is the one place where we all come together, from all over the country, to celebrate this thing we continue to nurture. Supporting our local events and our own regions is important. Prioritizing one event over all others, where everyone comes to participate in our larger AJJF family, is vital.

Let us collectively agree we will make the effort to get everyone together once a year to carry on the traditions, build relationships, and strengthen the fabric and family of our Ryu. I look forward to seeing you at Convention!

Other Kiai Echo 2017 Issue 1 Articles: