New Year’s Letter from the USAF Board 2021

Dear Instructors, Dojo-cho and Members,
On behalf of the USAF Board of Directors, we wish you a belated happy New Year, and hope that you are healthy and well. Looking to the months ahead, we must try to remain positive, and adjust to whatever future challenges we face. We are truly inspired by the many ways you are adapting to the times, such as teaching virtual and/or outdoor weapons classes. The USAF continues to be grateful for the energy and commitment displayed by USAF instructors and dojo members, and applaud you in your efforts to keep your communities connected and engaged.
The USAF Board, Committees, Technical Committee and Laura and Karen are always looking for ways to support our membership. We will continue to provide weekly virtual zoom classes, which have already featured over 35 of our instructors from around the globe. We have also met virtually during Dojo-cho Video Conversations, and enjoyed seeing many of you during these discussions. We greatly appreciate the feedback we received, and the opportunity to share information and just see each other face-to-face.  We will be organizing another DVC soon and hope you can join in.
In order to address the pandemic and its impact on the aikido community, the Board and Committees met virtually dozens of times in 2020, and already convened twice in January of 2021. With the start of a new year, budget discussions and how to adapt to this economic climate continue to be a main topic. The USAF has made several financial adjustments to meet these uncertain times, and greatly appreciates all of the dojos that paid their 2020 dues in spite of the economic hardships we are all enduring. We hope that those that are able will do so again for 2021.
The USAF would like to thank Paul Forhan, Aikido of El Paso, for the many years he volunteered his time and expertise on the Board. Prior to the expiration of his term, Paul served many roles: Board member, Treasurer, and Chair of the Financial Oversight Committee. We would also like to thank Sylvie Firestone, Aikido of Westchester, for her service on the Board. We wish Sylvie all the best on her new professional journey, and appreciate her continued role in the Working Group. At this time, Joseph Nemeth, Aikido of Nassau County, has joined the Board to fulfill Sylvie’s remaining term. Joe, being a long-time advisor to the Board, provides a seamless transition while we continue to focus on the challenges facing our aikido community.
Yamada Sensei has been maintaining a positive attitude, but he cannot wait to resume traveling and teaching again. He has received his first Covid vaccination and is looking forward to the time when we can see each other in person.
With the beginning 2021, we extend our best wishes to you and yours. We are grateful for your continued support, and hope you are healthy and safe. We look forward to remaining in touch!
In hopeful anticipation for a return to what we all love, we will end by saying: See you on the mat!
George Kennedy, Chair
USAF Board of Directors
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