December 20, 2001
Dear Nippon Kan Members and Friends,
The year 2001 is drawing to a close. As a people, around the world this year we have learned a new depth of shock and sadness. There were many victims of the events of September 11th, the most tragic being the survivors; family and friends who will carry the scars of these events for the rest of their lives. Nippon Kan members did their part to support those who were suffering by raising over $4000 for the American Red Cross at a fundraising seminar held September 21st, 2001.
Eleven years ago with the outbreak of the Gulf War, Nippon Kan members quickly responded then by raising funds for the children of the American soldiers at war. Not just sympathetic, Nippon Kan members have always been active and responsive to the world around us. Nippon Kan wishes for peace to return to our world. Therefore this year our dojo is decorated with the red, white, and blue ribbon of patriotism adorned with the white dove of peace.
Nippon Kan activities this year have busy as years past and all of our members have been very active an involved. This year as well, Nippon Kan served meals monthly at the Denver Rescue Mission, prepared and served by student volunteers. In 2001 we served over 3,500 meals, bringing the total for the last eleven years to over 23,000 meals served. Nippon Kan also participated in our annual volunteer projects with Denver Parks and Recreation. Over 180 Nippon Kan members and friends volunteered their time to plant trees at Bear Creek Park in the spring and turn the flower beds in Civic Center Park in the fall for the “Put the Beds to Bed” campaign. Including funds personally donated, over $12,000 was used to fund service projects for the Denver community and nation-wide through the American Red Cross.
The year 2001 also marks the conception of A.H.A.N., the Aikido Humanitarian Active Network. A.H.A.N. made its international debut at Nippon Kan over Labor Day with a concert featuring the world famous Kyo Gaku Taiko Drummers from Nagano, Japan. Over 350 people attended this spectacular event that raised funds to support our Homeless Children Project in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Domo Restaurant donated all of the food for this catered send off fund-raiser.
On the mat this year, Nippon Kan had almost 500 students enrolled in our beginning classes. This figure is consistent with last year’s figures, showing a healthy inflow of new students. On a national average, 500 beginning students per year is extremely high and very rare. Nippon Kan attracts new students through a reputation it has built over twenty-five years of service. Nippon Kan has a good reputation in Denver for community involvement, highly qualified, experienced instructors and a dedicated hardworking office staff team. The efforts of all of those who daily make Nippon Kan the quality institution it has become are greatly appreciated.
This year was a year of seminars abroad, as I was fortunate to be invited to teach Aikido and promote other AHAN activities in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia, Japan and St. Andrews, Scotland. Next year looks like it is going to be another busy year of travel as well. I give my thanks to our Domo Restaurant staff whose diligence and effort has allowed me the time to take AHAN and Aikido to other parts of the globe.
So as we look toward 2002, Nippon Kan is moving steadily, steering its way forward. 2002 promises to bring more development of A.H.A.N. internationally and the continuance of our community involvement here in Denver. Please visit the Nippon Kan website for detailed information on all of Nippon’s ongoing projects.
A swan glides across the lake with seemingly little effort. Never forget however that for the swan to move forward, it must paddle like crazy underneath the water. So it is with Nippon Kan, a unique blend of community service and martial art education and training. The scope of Nippon Kan’s programs and projects requires “a lot of paddling” behind the scenes, and Emily and our entire staff work a tremendous number of hours to make it all possible. For next year, I will keep paddling myself, until we reach the shore!
On January 2nd for Nippon Kan’s New Year Potluck Party, we have special guest entertainment arranged for your enjoyment. S. Erkhembayar and his wife B.Sarantuya both internationally known Mongolian folk singers will be joining us with they’re gift of Mongolian song. Hope to see you all there.
Have a Happy Holiday and New Year!
Gaku Homma, Nippon Kan Kancho