Facilitating the first-ever virtual AJJF National Convention was no small feat. In the face of some technical issues, a new format for classes, and over 200 attendees, the facilitator team remained calm, even through “Hell under the upraised Zoom.” We endeavored to work in harmony with the many different teaching styles present in this year’s roster of instructors and the unique considerations of remote JuJitsu practice. Careful planning by many people working in advance of the event let us focus on making classes run as smoothly as possible.
A true source of joy for us this weekend was being able to assist the professors and senior instructors in doing what they do best: passing on their knowledge and giving students the benefit of their experience. Convention gives us a chance to learn from instructors we don’t typically see in our everyday training, and this year’s online structure afforded a unique opportunity to see members of the ohana who might otherwise have been unable to attend. We strove to maintain the integrity of previous years’ traditions by guiding participants through this unfamiliar format, allowing instructors to center their attention solely on teaching.
Behind the scenes, the facilitators—especially our phenomenal IT team—were in constant communication to quickly resolve issues as they arose. In a true embodiment of wa (和), the team immediately and naturally fell into step to work together and ensure participants had as seamless an experience as we could provide. While instruction was taking place, facilitators balanced several responsibilities by monitoring multiple lines of communication or even maintaining a presence in each room. Within the stillness of each class running smoothly, there was constant motion as the team adapted to address different situations.
We weren’t entirely sure what to expect in terms of class attendance and the need for technical support until we saw the number of participants climb during Friday night Talk Story and the opening ceremony. We were elated that so many jujitsuka wanted to attend a fully remote version of the biggest event of the year. Even more astounding was how readily the ohana has embraced this new paradigm of group training. Appearing as discrete rectangles crowded together on a small screen while being physically separated, we enjoyed a weekend of remarkably effective training. The team is grateful for the boundless patience of our attendees while we contended with the inevitable gremlins that come with a technology-dependent event of this scale.
We hope we were able to provide as close to an in-person Convention experience as can be had from the comfort of your own homes. An enormous amount of preparation went into this event, and we’re grateful to everyone who practiced pono by giving of their time to make it a reality. The weekend’s success was made possible through your enthusiastic participation. On behalf of the facilitators, thank you for attending the 73rd annual, first-ever virtual AJJF National Convention. Mahalo, and we look forward to seeing everyone next year!
Image: Jason Davis, Nate Hill, Monica Medina, Katie Murphy Stevens, Jeff Meyers, Barb Gessner, Steve Balzac, Aromalyn Magtira, Sasan Parwar, Suzanne Lye, Holly Watson, Chris Bailey, Abraham Zilkha, Lian Muñoz. Image credit: Lian Muñoz.
Author Lian Muñoz holds the rank of Yonkyu at Pacific JuJitsu Kai.