Thank you for more information regarding Barbara and for relaying the message from Les.
As John said himself, "Everyone has a right to question a request for help given the number of scam artists out there. Erik is right to be cautious." I, too, agree and personally feel that Erik was not trying to de-legitimize this, be "nasty," nor expressing any kind of "negative" opinion. As Erik is in the Netherlands, I'm sure it's difficult for him to be able to easily contact people (or know folks like John) who can vouch for the legitimacy of this situation. I, for one, feel happy to vouch for Erik (just as I will be happy to vouch for John) and feel his initial thoughts on this matter were justified. I'm sure he meant no personal ill will but was merely expressing his thoughts from a place of good intentions. I hope that will help close that matter sufficiently...
Any way, I just heard from Peter Boylan of Mugendo Budogo
that he's willing to donate a copy of Moriteru Ueshiba sensei's "Aikido: Sono Waza To Gokui"
(bottom of the page referred) for the raffle. Thanks, Peter! The tape looks great.
Also thanks to Bronson for donating a basswood "Aikido" kanji plaque. I took a look at the picture and the plaque looks very nice.
Also, thank to Aviv for his offer to teach the 31 jo kata as taught to him and certified by Saito sensei -- how exciting! I'm not too sure, though, how well this would work out as it looks like we're planning on doing a raffle instead of an auction. Maybe, as you said, you can see if your students would be willing to bid for just that item and you can send the proceeds directly to the account referenced in the first post of this thread? Heck, I'd be willing to bid for it, just for the opportunity of learning the kata (for the umpteenth time since I just can't seem to remember
the darned thing no matter how many times I get taught it!) the next time I see you!
Lastly, I got a piece of e-mail from Gil down in Florida that he's willing to donate several signed printes of a portrait of O-sensei that he did in 1992. Thanks, Gil! I'll see if I can get some pictures from him.
In any case, the list of items available for the raffle is growing and it looks wonderful. I hope to have the final list of raffle items and set up the raffle itself right after January 10th so please let me know either via this thread here or by private e-mail if you'd be willing to donate something for this raffle.
Best regards to everyone,