Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ohana Future

On the weekend of August 20, 2010, I attended the Ohana convention sponsored by the Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai at the Sheraton Park in Anaheim, CA. I taught a well-received seminar on the Danzan-Ryu composite self-defense course known as, Fusegi Jutsu. It was great, IMVHO. To be certain, the Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai did an outstanding job in all aspects of the event.

In 1990, Mike Chubb, Bill Fischer and other leaders from the Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai held the first Ohana, a convention meant to bring all of the disparate DZR organizations together in the spirit of family and sharing. This event allows students to see a wide spectrum of instructors. It allows them to fellowship with students from across the world and meet well-known celebrities. It gives them a wider view of the Danzan-Ryu world. I believe that the original intent for this event remains good and altruistic. I hope this continues. I have attended all of the Ohana conventions since 1994 and have seen some trends that may indicate that it may not. Let us be clear. I am not referring to how good the banquet meal tasted or whether someone was offended by some words or actions. No, I am referring to something much more damaging to the Ohana.

One trend that I have seen over the years is how the "ohana" or "family" has become increasingly uninterested in reuniting. There are a couple of specifics:

In order for this cross-organizational event to be a success, it is important that organizations minimize their own individual events so that their members can afford the transportation, lodging and admission to the seminars/tournaments. Over the past several Ohana's, it has been apparent that this has not been a priority. Since the Ohana sponsor organization changes from year-to-year, one can plainly see this and who is not attending. Now, to be fair, there are some organizations that have made it a priority to raise funds and set aside their own events.

In any organization, the membership generally follows what their leadership does. If their leadership actively campaigns to boycott an event or simply does not find the event a priority, then the membership will act in accordance. As a former organizer of an Ohana, I have directly seen this. On the other hand, where those in leadership positions show a sense of enthusiasm and motivation, their members recognize this and make the Ohana a priority.

Will Ohana continue? As a representative to the Ohana Alliance (a committee set up to promote the Ohana), I have seen that there is the potential for the event to continue for the benefit of future DZR generations. The last meeting of the Ohana Alliance was held on the Monday morning after the 2010 Ohana. Plans for future events were made and agreed to. Will they come to pass? In my view, this depends on the "buy-in" of the various organizational leaders.

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