AMAHOF Presidents Report 2021
Welcome everyone to the 24th Annual Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame Awards event here at the Liverpool Catholic Club, Sydney. I also wish a special welcome to all of our 2020 and 2021 inductees. This event is all about celebrating the recognition of your dedication and achievements, that you have individually earned over your career in the Martial Arts. I also welcome your families and friends who are here to help celebrate with you and I hope this will be a memorable occasion for you all over the weekend festivities.
Last year we were supposed to be Perth, however due to the global Covid-19 pandemic we were forced to cancel this event as we faced lock downs and state boarder closures. Notwithstanding, we did have people to induct, so behind the scenes the normal process continued, our 2020 inductees were accepted and are now listed on the AMAHOF website.
By the time current events forced the cancellation of Perth in 2020, planning for this event here in Sydney 2021 was already in place so the AMAHOF committee and directors decided that we will return to Perth in 2022. As a number of 2020 people were based in Perth we gave the choice of which event they wished to attend to receive their awards. Some of our 2020 people are here this weekend and the remainder elected to attend the Perth event next year. There was also an inductee, Master Neil Livingstone from New Zealand, left over from 2019 who due to personal reasons was unable to travel to Canberra. With the doubt of the Australian New Zealand travel bubble being maintained with any certainty, we decided to contact our colleagues at the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame to see if they were running an event in the near future. Fortunately, they are indeed planning events in September and October this year and were delighted to assist us in delivering our AMAHOF awards to Master Livingstone’s at their event.
The events of the last year have affected everyone to some level. With training centres forced to closed, we all had to think outside the box as we tackled the disruption caused by the fluid situation of the Covid pandemic and find new ways to reach our membership and continue our training. Teleconferencing via Zoom and other platforms have provided us with a way to stay connected and the AMAHOF executive have been having regular monthly meeting using this medium to keep abreast of the work required to bring this event to fruition.
At the 2019 AGM there were a number of new people elected to the executive and with that came some new ideas on moving the association forward. One important decision taken was to reformat the award structure by introducing a single “Continuing excellence and dedication award” as entry into AMAHOF and changing the “Lifetime Achievement Award” to be an invitational award to past inductees as they move past their 35th year of training in the Arts.
This will be achieved by inviting past inductees, who reside within the state or territory of where the events are being held, back to our annual dinner to receive this Lifetime Achievement award as further recognition of their service to the Martial Arts. This year we have started this new format with great success as we have over 20 past inductees from NSW here to receive this award. Next year we will continue this with our Western Australian members and continue to circulate through all the states and territories in the coming years.
This has been our third awards here in Sydney and I would like to extend my congratulations to Event Director Master Paul Mitchell and his support team for the many hours of work done to bring about this wonderful event. This event is also trailing several new technology tools to help with organisation and communications. We have used the Eventbrite platform to manage our ticket sales, Campaign Monitor for electronic mailouts and tonight our event is being broadcasted live over the internet via a social media feed. We hope these initiatives will spark new interest in AMAHOF and keep us on the path as the Premier Hall of Fame honouring Martial Artists in the Australasian region.
I also wish to acknowledge and thank my executive committee of Vice President Anthony Hockley, Treasurer Kevin Prime and in particular Secretary Steve Weston who has done a power of work in support of AMAHOF. Also, to the Australasian Sokeship Council Chairman Ramon Lawrence and Vice Chairman Peter Kitak, and AMAHOF directors Randal Jones, Peter Shaw and Rowland Winter for their contributions during the zoom sessions this year. Finally, I’d personally like to thank the past executive committee of Johnny Whipp, Les Elliot and Frank Hussey for also staying in touch and offering their guidance to the new committee members.
This weekend is a celebration of Martial Arts achievement at the highest level and also a wonderful opportunity for everyone here to network, to make new friends and reconnect with old friends. I look forward to sharing this with you all.
Shihan Edward Scharrer
President AMAHOF Inc.