Australasian Sokeship Council

Chairman: Grandmaster Ramon Lawrence OAM

REPORT FROM THE CHAIRMAN –Sydney 2023

Congratulations to all 2023 Inductees attending this year’s event in Sydney to collect your awards.

I have been fortunate to have been able to attend every AMAHOF Awards ceremony since it commenced in 1996.

It has been a long period of association with many Inductees whom I manage to meet up with on an annual basis only. As my “twilight” years are getting on, and my body keeps reminding me, it is becoming more difficult to participate in the seminars or conduct demonstrations but I am very happy to leave this to the later generations and still be able to share any knowledge with them when requested or having a drink over coffee etc. I continue to enjoy the discussions that always arise at these events. I retired from my businesses in 2020 and retired to Port Coogee, near Fremantle and the coast, and I am looking forward to moving around Australia and overseas and visiting many of my senior students and continuing passing on my knowledge to them.

These past three years I have been trying to recover the full use of my legs again but it has been a slow and painful journey and the realization that this is as good as it is going to get and it has finally dawned on me. During this time I have taken a few nasty falls injuring knees, neck and shoulders. However, I have still managed to continue training in my arts and traveling interstate to run limited seminars. Last year, I concluded my annual seminars in New Caledonia after 14 years supporting them in Iaido. It is my 64th year of continuous training in martial arts and it’s probably past time to start clearing my “bucket list” and traveling after I turned 78 this April.

Keeping a challenging mind and improving knowledge in the arts is extremely important – you never stop learning and improving, though perhaps in different aspects to one’s past youthful days.

There have been several enquiries for upgrading our members and many more for Acknowledgement of Current Grades by AMAHOF. These have been investigated in detail and motions set in place for the applicant’s final assessments during a demonstration of their skills and to showcase their art at this year’s awards event in Sydney and more planned for the future.

I must re-emphasize that the ASC has an obligation to the industry and our members not to interfere with the balance of good quality leadership and achievement so that the right people are correctly rewarded, and seen to be acknowledged, by good performance over a long period of time and showing all the elements associated with the martial arts concepts. We will not interfere with any organization responsible for holding gradings for specific arts that the members belong to or have just left the organization. ASC is not to be seen as an easy alternative to doing the hard yards within authentic organizations responsible for such circumstances. As each year progress’s I have tried to involve new senior members onto the grading panels and identifying such members to take over from me when the time comes. We have moved on from doing assessment gradings to more formal panel gradings. Having new blood and younger members from our current senior members is important for this purpose but we must make sure the achievement of being inducted into AMAHOF and being upgraded in ranks by the ASC maintains a high level of ethics, achievement and notice-ability to the public as well as to members of the martial arts industry. In this area I strongly urge members to give the Executive their continued support and recognition to this important re-development.

The ASC maintains promotional advancement in the Shogo ranks in line with the major Japanese martial arts systems. i.e Renshi after achieving 6th Dan; Kyoshi after 7th Dan and Hanshi after 8th Dan etc. I am aware some organisations lower this requirement however the ASC does not differ.

Again, congratulations to our new Inductees and grading applicants and we hope to see many of our past Inductees and friends in Sydney and for all of us to share in our small wisdoms gained over many years of hard training in our specific arts. Remember, “if it comes too easily, it is not worth having” and “do your first as if it is your last, and your last as if it is your first”. These two ethics of training will always hold you in good stead for the future.

I would also like to thank the outgoing ASC and Executive members for their support across past years to both AMAHOF and the ASC.

The time has finally come for me to let go of my remaining positions of Chairman ASC and hand this over to the new Chairman at this year’s event in Sydney. Shihan Ed Scherrer will take on this role at the completion of this year awards in Sydney.

The other position of the Australian Director to the WKUHOF that I have held for the past 25 years is being handed over to Grandmaster Anthony Hockley at this year’s WKUHOF being held in Split Rock, Pennsylvania, USA on Saturday 24th June 2023. Anthony was chosen as my successor as he is a 10th Dan Kempo instructor, travels to the USA annually, and is able to be more pro-active than myself.

These two positions are my last official positions held in any organization and completes my retirement plans. I will still be attending AMAHOF events and will always be available to advise when required. It has been my pleasure to serve our members since 1996 and thank everyone for putting up with me over these past 27 years of service.

Kind regards to all
Ramon Lawrence, OAM

Australasian Sokeship Council Chairman
Hanshi Hachidan, Budokan Bujutsu Australia
Sydney – 18th August, 2023