Happy New Year, 2021: Message from Director, Lia Suzuki SenseiJan 02, 2021
“During the pandemic, my classes have been attended by students from the Netherlands, Germany, Taiwan, Japan, France, the USA, United Kingdom, Mexico, Iran, Lebanon, and other countries. Many of them train in different Aikido styles and belong to different affiliations. I treasure this.“
Dear Supporters and Students,
I hope you and your loved ones have been safe and healthy during this extraordinarily challenging year.
As you might imagine, my world, like yours probably, was turned upside down in early 2020.
It hasn’t always been easy, but for the most part, I’ve been able to appreciate the positive things resulting from our circumstances.
The pandemic has allowed me to deepen relationships with my Aikido friends around the world. And it has resulted in the cultivation of new relationships that would not have been possible otherwise.
During the pandemic, my classes have been attended by students from the Netherlands, Germany, Taiwan, Japan, France, the USA, United Kingdom, Mexico, Iran, Lebanon, and other countries. Many of them train in different Aikido styles and belong to different affiliations. I treasure this.
I’ve been able to take weekly classes with my sempai in Japan, whom I only was able to train with once a year or so before.
The pandemic has also resulted in lots of teaching collaborations between myself and instructors of different affiliations. I welcome more and more collaboration in the future.
Pivoting to online training has deepened my students’ appreciation of our classes and of Aikido itself. The thank-you’s I hear at the end of my Zoom classes are much more fervent than when we trained in person and said our goodbye’s in the dojo parking lot.
This year reminds me of times long ago when my training partners and I trained through discomfort but didn’t give up – when snow was blowing through cracks in the wall in the dojo in Yokohama and we couldn’t feel our feet; when we trained in temperatures well over °100F in the dojo with no ventilation; and when I had to wake up at 4:35am in order to get to the dojo in time to help my sempai clean the mats.
I have so many memories like these and I’m sure many of you do, too. So many uncomfortable yet wonderful experiences.
This pandemic has been uncomfortable.
Staying at home is uncomfortable. Wearing a mask is uncomfortable. Uncertainty is uncomfortable.
Perhaps this is our true martial arts training. And 2020 is our “dojo.”
We don’t know exactly what the future holds or how quickly things will improve.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to our continued online training, community calls and forums, online seminars, and Zoom happy hours. And of course, I’m so, so looking forward to training together with everyone in person as soon as it is safe to do so.
Wishing you and yours a safe, healthy, and Happy New Year!
Aikido Kenkyukai International USA