Most of you recognize the acronym in the title: BFF- Best friends forever. To the left is a photo of Joey (one of my students) and Kenji (my son). These boys train together at the Dojo, and they train hard! They hang out together, play together, and of course, they have their disagreements. At the end of the day, they always shake hands and make up…2 minutes later they’re carrying on as if nothing happened.
If not for Karate, these two boys would likely have never met; Joey’s parents enrolled in the Dojo many years ago when Joey and Kenji were both toddlers. Joey was very shy, and totally uninterested in Karate; he mostly kept to himself as he came to the dojo with his parents and watched quietly from the seating area as his parents trained.
Fast Forward a few years later; Joey was 6 and decided that he wanted to train with his father. A little less shy and very energetic, Joey embarked on the journey of traditional karate and soon became friends with his training partner Kenji. Just a few days ago after training the boys got into a disagreement over something trivial.. They were upset with one another, but only minutes later they were laughing and joking as if it hadn’t happened at all.
In the world of traditional karate, we share a common bond, a friendship, and a brotherhood that transcends all barriers. Differences such as Nationality, creed, color, social status, gender, political and religous beliefs and even personal differences are outweighed by the common bond that we share through the rigors of tradtional karate training. We share the experience of having shed blood, sweat, and tears in the endless pursuit of improving just a little more.. We share the physical pain of bruises, sore muscles and bones. We share the emotional pain of falling, and the strength of getting up again to try harder. This is our common bond as karate-ka. This connects all of us…all over the world. This is our brotherhood/sisterhood. No matter where we go, we will find a friend, a brother, a sister in Karate. This is a bond that we share, that most outsiders will never understand..even if they are reading this.
Friends, brothers, sisters: We will always have slight differences of opinion in what is the right and wrong way for us to train and progress; these differences are trivial and mostly personal opinion. The shared benefits among traditional karate-ka far outweigh the differences, and although we may have disagreements from time to time, we are always friends, brothers, and sisters in budo.
I am fortunate..no, I am Blessed to have made so many life-long friends throughout the United States – from Coast to Coast- and throughout the world; all possible because of our common bond of training and passion for the old ways of Okinawan and Japanese Karate!
Everywhere we go, we have family; brothers and sisters in Budo.