A little over two years ago I was flying home from visiting Den’s daughter and then significant other. I had been contemplating getting back into martial arts and I decided to think about it on the flights home. I felt that there was a need to incorporate this in my life, so I made my decision that upon my return home I would begin to look at dojos and see if I could find a place where I could train. I looked at several places, including my former dojo which was Oyama style. I felt like I wanted to try something different. I investigated and made a few phone calls. I came upon the Glasco Karate website. It looked like my kind of place. Senseis John and Nancy Eccles seemed to have a thriving dojo, but it also looked like it had a family element. Now those of you who know me understand that I am not a joiner. I do not like to be ‘a part of something.’ So I had to find just the right place. I sent an email to inquire and received a welcoming response from Sensei John. He offered me the opportunity to come to the dojo and see what I thought.
It was a changing day in my life on April 6, 2013 when I stepped in the dojo. I felt welcomed by not only Senseis John and Nancy, but by the family members watching their little ones and fellow students. I have felt such a part of a family and it has been a journey that emphasizes integrity, honor, respect and caring for each other. Over the past two and a half years I have competed with my dojo brothers and sisters at tournaments and struggled to learn the material for the night or the next promotion test. I was honored to take part in Sempai Dave Lesperence’s Shodan test last year. My two nights a week have been a highlight of my week. Whether I was having a difficult time at work or a great week, going to the dojo made it better. It helped me to focus on the here and now, or as Sensei Nancy says at the beginning of class…only karate now…Some nights I was exhausted from work and almost succumbed to the lure of the couch, but I always felt better having attended.
So last winter I happened to be looking for a change of position and came across a job in Okinawa. I thought, wow, wouldn’t that be something? To work and live in the place where it all started? Well I thought, what the heck, it will only take about a half an hour to fill this out….weeks and months went by, an interview came up…and in July I began to hear back. I received emails that I was being considered, please send more paperwork. In August what began as a desire to learn martial arts again, became a reality. I was offered the job and opportunity to live in Okinawa.
None of this would have happened if I hadn’t received the friendly email from my Sensei and the welcoming acceptance of the Glasco Karate dojo. I have been honored to be a part of this special place and can only thank John and Nancy Eccles for being my very special teachers and friends. I will carry their teaching with me as I walk the old path and on the stones tread upon by Chogun Miyagi.