If you see a post from me in the Aikiweb forums, you'll note a few things. First, the gold star. That's important. It means I value this web community enough to kick in a few bucks every year to help Jun pay to keep it going. I hope you'll consider doing the same.
You'll notice my avatar is for my business, Zanshin Art, which would never have existed without Aikiweb to connect me with the international aikido community. One person asked about a keikogi for a dojomate's baby, one person asked about a weapons bag, and so was born a microbusiness. While I can't retire from the earnings, I have made well over 200 custom bags and am still enjoying meeting new people and making beautiful bags.
You might see that according to the database, I joined in May 2002 (and have made over 4300 posts in those 15 years....hmmm...286 posts per year). The database, however, is wrong. Back when I first went online searching for an aikido community, I didn't even have my own email address, and my original join date under a different moniker was....Well, now, this is interesting...
In August of 1997 I have to admit (much as it embarrasses me) that I was only peripherally aware of the Birth of Aikiweb, and didn't join until a few months later. The reason is that I was having my first aikido crisis that summer. As a slow learning fifth kyu with 18 months training under my white belt I was working through the trauma of changing dojos. But it was the support of the internet community via Aikido-L that got me through that transition and sold me on the potential of what we now call "social media" for creating and sustaining community.
While the forums have been a great and at times lively source of information, argument, discussion, and jokes over the decades, it's really the columns that define the value of Aikiweb for me. Having Professor Goldsbury publish his long-term project on the history of Aikido here would in and of itself make this site a vital part of budo literature. I feel the same way about the It Has To Be Felt series that Ellis Amdur got underway a few years ago: a library of written memories of training directly with key instructors.
There are a few of us who've been near-constant since the introduction of the columns: Ross Robertson, Lynn Seiser, and the women who comprise the Mirror column. I'm darn proud of some of the columns my sisters on the Mirror and I have come up with. Heck, I had to write an Artist Statement earlier this month, and I found myself going back to my first the Mirror column for reference to some of my ideas on arts, martial arts, and spirituality ("Mediating with Reality, Connecting with the World - http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2004_05.html
). A year later, Katherine Derbyshire and I collaborated on a column about passive-aggressive dojo culture that I think should be required reading for holier-than-thou aikidoka ("Moral Stances on Shaky Ground" http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2005_05.html
). I announce my withdrawal from budo in a column, and then my return...talk openly about aches and pains, losing my teacher, developing curricula, struggling to prepare for shodan....
There is a ton of great information on Aikiweb and while it reflects the contributions of many researchers and essayists, and many more questioners and repliers, at the foundation it remains the work and vision of one person. To my dear friend, Jun Akiyama, who I have had the privilege of intermittently training with and breaking bread with for twenty years....a heartfelt Mazel Tov and equally heartfelt Domo Arigato.
Janet Rosen © 2017