Well, I certainly underestimated this month.
Actually, that’s not exactly true. I had every intention, when this month started, to comply with the challenge to write a post a day on this blog. I have several topics already outlined that I would very much like to write about, and plan to. But not on a timetable. Not this month, anyway. There are a few major events going on that are simply making this blog take a backseat–if only temporarily.
The biggest event at the moment is the upcoming Aikido Kokikai International Convention, which is this weekend. When I first started planning this event, Sensei told me that he wanted it big, and was going to let other students know this as well. I must admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Most Kokikai dojos are in the Northeast, and I can speak from firsthand experience that it is a challenge to fly across the country for such events–especially if such travels are coming close to the holidays, when travels to seeing family take precedence. So I thought perhaps that we would plan for a medium-sized event, have a few precautions in place for a large event, and not be disappointed if it was small event.
Well, it’s a good thing we have precautions in place, because this event is shaping up to becoming one of the largest Kokikai events ever held in the Northwest. People from all over the country and Japan have already registered, and I think it is easily topping the previous event held here in Seattle. Everyone is tremendously excited–not just to see Sensei, but to be in the Northwest. For many, this is their first visit here, and it is my goal, and the goal all of the Kokikai practitioners here in the Northwest, to make it such a positive experience that folks from the East Coast won’t hesitate to want to come again the next time around.
Many of the topics I had planned to write about focused on the preparations for this event. I don’t know about you, but not many of us have had the opportunity to host an international convention such as this. Usually, we’re the lucky recipients of these events. We go, we train, we learn, and someone else handles the details. So I plan to write a bit about the different aspects of planning this event just to (a) provide a record so I can best remember how this all came about, and (b) provide a glimpse of the work involved for those who might want to host a similar event in the future.
One thing I would like to write about at the moment is ZebraMats. Many of us who are in the “throwing” or “grappling” arts (to provide a label that is, at best, inaccurate) train on these mats or something similar. We use a series of these mats at our own dojo. They’re excellent to train on, and withstand a great deal of abuse. We still have mats in use at our dojo that we had at our old location–which we got about 5 years ago!
When I found out that we were hosting the convention, my biggest concern was the training area. No one around here has a stack of mats just sitting in a warehouse waiting for someone to host a convention. We could have purchased mats, but that would have been a tremendous expense. Fortunately, the folks at ZebraMats are supportive of the martial arts, and graciously allowed us to rent three pallets of these mats for use for the event. (In fact, if you’re in the Northwest area, and need a few mats, contact ZebraMats right away–they’re selling the mats we’re renting at a pretty good discount.) I’m really glad we get to use the ZebraMats; they’re really easy to set up, they grip slick surfaces like gym floors really well so they don’t slide around, and they can take a lot of abuse! I’ve mentioned to many folks that we’ll have these mats at the event, and everyone is very excited. So I suppose this paragraph is my way of saying “Thanks” to ZebraMats, and encouraging any of you out there who need mats for your own training area to seriously consider ZebraMats as an option.
Okay–there’s more to do. I’ll post when I can! Hope I haven’t disappointed anyone too much–but this is how life gets! There’s another major life event going on as well, which I’ll write about later. You’ll just have to live with the suspense…although some of you know the news already.