Started training: September 2007 - Age 50
Tested for red belt: March 12, 2013 - Age 55
This has been an amazing journey for me. The ﬁrst and readily the most important part of my journey has been the kindness and support shown to me by my peers of all ages and belts. Equal to that is the beloved support of those who patiently watch from the other side of the wall. I can not mention each of you by name but please know that you are known to me and I am forever grateful. Now it is my turn to thank you and that is the whole of my essay for it is all that has meaning to me.
I love that I have so many martial skills and such a level of uncommon ﬁtness but when asked by anyone why do I continue, I consistently choke out the same reply, “I love being with others who are also reaching so hard.” I love being on my knees with a little White Belt trying to ﬁnd a cross-up for down block and seeing up close how hard “new”is. I love being in the presence of any student who indeed gives me the honor of helping them. I love laughing at ourselves together. I love only remembering how much fun I have had even though there had to have been some hard work in there somewhere.
Rod Wayne, 28 years years is a “WOW” , long time to stay by someone. I do not see your belt like I do the others but I am pretty sure it is a dark belt, frayed and stained from all the messes 28 years of marriage can yield. Equal to that is the light from all the joy we have had with being honored in life to be Gabiʼs parents. These mats that I frequent with Gabriella are a large part of all the experiences we have with her. Much bigger than we ever anticipated. And, I am forever grateful to you for supporting me in the “Wayne Girls Journey.” A long time from now, I will die happily having drunk in this so deeply.
Gabriella, Gabriella Gentian Wayne, you always lead the way, you always show me myself so that I may endeavor to be a better person. Iʼm kinda crazy about you and somehow, I, “The Old One,” managed to get you as my training partner. Endless hours talking Karate much as Devon and Jordan or Ben and Seth must share. Good honesty and quite a few good laughs. Like when I changed belts and you would teach me a new kata while ambitiously throwing ﬂuffy cat toys at me every time I would mess up. Like after I got “lost” in my stick kata at the PJN and also managed to hit one of the judges while trying to get back on track and laughing at that over dinner....Itʼs simple Gabi, you are my heart and I am so happy you were born and that I get to be your mother. You are an amazing martial artist and you wear it well.
My “Friends in Higher Places,” aka. “the big boys”, Ben, Seth, Devon, Jordan.
Jordan, in classes with you I remember how you never gave up on me and how your trademark Haglund patience and precision advice on gaining skills advanced me. I also really like the look that comes over your face when you are thinking what sort of killer grip you can get on Devon or Dylan in the next time you grapple.
Ben and Devon, I have been known to say that my martial arts dream is to have 1 day where I can be Ben Lute for 12 hours and Devon Haglund for the other 12 and do martial arts with endless energy for the entire time. What would it be like to ﬂy like you guys??? The kindness you both have offered me is endless even though I have blatantly stared holes in you both for 5 years while I have been trying to watch and learn. You know, when I am standing on the sidelines with my arms crossed and a very serious face staring at you. Truly the stuff of nightmares and yet you appear unscarred. Proof of how Ninja you are.
I would have used the word “Super” to describe some of you but I think Seth has a patent on that word. I could use the word “Super” to describe you Seth but I am more drawn to the word “Impossible.” Sethers, you are impossibly silly, impossible to spar without being reduced to irreversible laughter from how “different” our skillage is. You are so readily brought to that laugh of yours and it is a part of all the lives you have touched. You are one talented, hard working, kind, and compassionate person. You are a Mega gift. You are impossible to forget:) Simply impossible.
Gretchen and Kim, so playful, committed, supportive and so harmful. I am amazed we survive one another and would not have it any other way. Crystal, you are amazing. Elizabeth, welcome aboard :)
Bill Holman and Dan Spencer, aka kids in my age group. Dan, just seeing you still showing up with that incredible work ethic keeps me going. If you can do it, I can do it. If I can do it, you can do it. I love seeing that Brown belt around your waist :) Bill, for those of you who do not know, is a Blackbelt from Bend Karate Club whom I have been lucky enough to train with in traditional Shotokan for the past 2 years. Perhaps even more importantly, he and Dan really get it with what it is like to ask this much of the body at this age and that sense of company they give me is priceless.
Hunter, Grant, Evan, Chad and Jarod, at one point I used to help you all on your
journeys. Now, of course, you all have tremendous athleticism, gymnastic skills, and you all ﬂy as young people your age can and achieve even more with lots of hard work. So, yah, we did lots of hard work together, you guys all turned into butterﬂies and I am still a bit moth-ish, BUT, we had fun! I bless you all for letting me be your witness in watching you grow up. Jarod, you have such a willing humor and infectious laugh that there has been more than one night where I thought for sure Sensei would bust us with “the look.” Chad, so very capable of withstanding whatever is in the way and quietly achieving. Grant and Evan, so respectful. Hunter Bart, walks around with a piece of my heart that he stole when he and Gabi were 6 and 7....You can only imagine what it is like to try and focus in class with all these horrible people that have dug their way into my
heart....like that is fair.... What blows me away by all of you is that I really donʼt think any of you EVER, EVER think that I will remain moth-ish with any of my skills. Your belief in me to continue to improve at the rate of “ not a 15 year old boy” is why I continue to improve. Remember how your faith in me has improved my life, how much that can do for anyone.
So, that is my journey here. Lots of self study with the kindest of heart kindred spirits. Lots of opportunity to learn to be a better person in all realms. I would never have guessed that by being willing to step on the mats to learn Karate I was opening the door to having such a great time with so many amazing friends.
Thank you all. Oss, Kristina and Sensei Brian.