Dear Iaidobu members
Up to this time the Iaido BuEc has remained relatively quiet with regard to the ongoing issues that have arisen out of recent events, but after consultation involving all current Bu officers we feel that now is the time to contact all Iai Bu members about those issues and most particularly what is in our opinion the inaccurate perception of how events have unfolded. We are aware through reports passed to us, that a lot of questions have been raised on social media that we now feel need to be addressed. We must state though that much of our silence has been to allow investigative processes to go on unhindered and to prevent bias being thrown into the mix. There is seemingly much being said by a small group that tries to portray the Bu as being in a state of decline. Despite this we are pleased to report that the officers have been getting on with our various roles to prepare a good year of events for all members. The BuEC and co-opted officers would like to keep you up-to-date with our plans for 2018, and to keep you informed of relevant issues.
1. Calendar of Iaido events:
The 2018 Iaido calendar is set, with the exception of the Northern Seminar. Bu officers have worked hard behind the scenes with faculty to help minimise overall seminar costs. This resulted in substantial savings and so this year the price of Iaido events has been reduced to reflect that. The new price structure being used can be seen on the online seminar posters. We also ask senior faculty to provide a teaching plan for an event and this means all faculty know what, where and when they are teaching. This has saved time at the start of seminars where last minute planning of teaching often took place in the past. With the help of the senior faculty member, we hope to be able to published these before each seminar so the membership know what to expect. This has also helped bring in the 5th Dan seniors to assist and help prepare them for future faculty roles. The Iaido Nationals will be a two day event, with day 1 incorporating much of the 2017 Post-AGM event format. This will also help prepare attendees for the taikai and inform better judging. More information on that will be sent by that event organiser.
2. 2018 Summer Seminar:
We will now host our 2018 Summer Seminar in Cambridge University Sports Centre (July 13-15th). This is a fine venue with ample space and with good flooring (and free parking). We are pleased to announce that we have support from various 7th dan sensei and that we have requested a ZNKR delegation of hachidan hanshi to assist us. We have been informed that this request will be honoured and will be informed of the make-up of the delegation three months before the event: this is usual practice. It has been suggested that the delegation will likely be from the top-executive committee. We are confident that they will give us the very highest level of instruction. As this is an official ZNKR delegation, the Japanese sensei will further be able to assist as panellists for the examinations up to 5th Dan
In regard to chatter involving the Japanese sensei who have visited us for many years. They have made themselves unavailable for BKA events, while on-going Bu issues remain unresolved. This is an understandable stance, not least due to the volume of misinformation reaching them. Reports pertaining to these issues will be released soon to better inform the members of the facts, which we hope will draw them to a close.
It is the current BuEC vision that the Iaidobu should move forward developing a stronger relationship with the ZNKR, as this would bring us in-line with our sister-bu Kendo, and more importantly other Iaido groups across Europe and also the USA. There are many long-term technical and managerial benefits to this approach. It should be clearly stated that this should in no way negatively impact on the ability to invite individual sensei to private events, which should alleviate concerns about access to Koryu teaching. The BKA is an affiliate of the ZNKR and the focus is Seitei Gata. Current developments in high-level grading in Japan indicates that ZNKR Seitei Iaido may become much more important in our progression. There is a need for an open, sensible and respectful debate on this issue.
3. Squad Training Session:
2017 saw high numbers of members supporting Iaido STS. The Squad Manager has asked me to extend his thanks for the support and asks that all members support in 2018. This not only increasing the energy of the STS, but it helps fund the final team and allows any member a chance for a different type of input as feedback is more personal. The 2018 STS calendar has been announced and locations have been chosen to best allow as many members equal and affordable access to STS.
4. On-going Issues:
Many members are aware through attending the AGM, through social media, reading the Draft Minutes, or through their own dojo sources, that the Iaidobu is presently under duress, is being highly scrutinised by a small group and a number of complaints have been made. These are currently being looked into. Much of this could have been avoided and should not have been allowed to happen. The Iaido BuEC and co-opted officers have agreed that the time is now right to address some of these on-going issues as an independent Bu. Therefore, we will be publishing two reports. The first will deal with financial issues and will be sent within the next week. We urge all members to take the time to read and digest the contents.
On behalf of the BuEc and Co-opted Officers