Wow, I simply can’t believe that another year has nearly slipped by and in a few weeks we’ll surge into 2016. In preparation for this newsletter I started looking at some old newsletters back to the early 1990’s; a bit of a journey down memory lane. A few things really hit home as I waded through the pages, here’s some of the most notable:
- WKFA truly is my second family and I hope it’s yours as well. We train, we socialize, we teach, and we learn. We don’t always see eye to eye but in the end we are family and that overcomes all.
- Many of those that we now call Sifu appeared in the newsletter going as far back as WKFA has been producing newsletters. Sifu Dave, Sifu Eric, Sifu Lloyd, Sifu Craig, Sifu Rikin, Sifu Sydney have all been training and teaching at WKFA since well before most of today’s Advanced Adult class was born.
- Sifu Eric and I have trained with, and taught, every other Black Sash instructor in the school, at one time or another, since receiving our Black Sash in 1995.
- Just as with your real family we have welcomed new family members with open arms and have mourned the loss of others. We have seen promising students with tons of natural ability suddenly leave, and we have watched with pride as others that struggle attain their Black sash and beyond.
- We have had our share of shining stars and even a few “black sheep”.
- Instructors and students alike still do silly things!
- Mutual respect is a theme that has always resonated strongly within the ranks of WKFA. Not only do students have sincere respect for their instructors, but instructors have sincere respect for students. It’s this relationship that keeps us strong.
- I simply can’t believe the number Brown sash students whose name popped up when I was perusing the newsletters that never managed to attain their Black sash.
- Up until the mid-2000s the percentage of adult students and kids was about 50/50, now our adult program is about 1/3 of that of the kids. The significant thing is that our adult program isn’t getting smaller; it’s getting younger because of the many students from the Junior program that continue on into the Adult program.
- Many of us more senior family members had hair colour that wasn’t grey. I didn’t even have a beard for my first several years at WKFA.
- In years past, I thought we had a lot of “perfectionists”; but nothing like we have today. To that I say the same thing as I said then, “there’s no such thing as perfection so don’t dwell on it”. That’s why, when you ask me about minute details in a form or sequence, my response is likely to be, “just work it and don’t dwell on the minutia”.
One thing that always fills me with pride, especially when I look at the expertise, teaching skill, and knowledge of our instructors, is the fact that all of our active instructors work hard to maintain their knowledge and expertise. Every one of us trains regularly, either in class or on our own so we can maintain our skills and fitness. What you see at WKFA is not the norm at martial arts schools. I know many senior, and sometimes officious, instructors that haven’t put in a day of serious training since they attained their black sash.
Did you know that Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer, had a twin sister? Her name was Olive? You know, Olive the other reindeer!
Regardless of your background, Christmas is a time for family and to give thanks. Personally I’m thankful for all of our dedicated instructors, dedicated students, and the lifelong friendships that have evolved during my years at WKFA. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Prosperous 2016.