Today my teacher will be laid to rest. Although unable to be by his side today, those close to him know that I am there in spirit. Few people understood my relationship with him (and admittedly sometimes I didn’t either). More important for me is that I was by the Master’s side 2 weeks ago in Milan, where I had the opportunity to speak my heart and not talk about the end but indeed the future… a moment that I will carry with me for eternity.
If I was with him today, I would have said the following to my teacher :
Maestro thank you…
– for showing me how to put one foot ahead of the other;
– for teaching my body to understand how to move;
– for accepting me when I chose to follow you, as times were very difficult ;
– for being an inspiration in my life… as teacher and as friend;
– for inspirational times on the tatami and off;
– for being a leader to so many of us around the world;
– for being a father when I needed one;
– for being hard on me when I needed to improve myself or even when those around me were at fault;
– for failing me in my first attempt for Sandan with you;
– for your sacrifice:
– for being a light of inspiration for so many of us here in South Africa and not just a selected privileged few;
– for showing compassion and setting an example to the privileged and the rest of us in a country still torn apart by the disparity of inequality and apartheid;
– for changing my life;
– for choosing me to take forward your legacy here in South Africa;
– for absolutely brilliant aikido, still unmatched anywhere 🙂 ;
– for being.
Your student always. Rest in Peace.