Sometimes I look back on my younger years and I become nostalgic for the past. During my youth, I never travelled much or wandered far from the comforting confines of Northern New Brunswick but it continues to surprise me how full a life one can have, even living in such a small environment. And no environment could have given me as much as my home. Here’s one of the memories drifting to the surface of my psych. Buckle up…
This story takes me all the way back to 1989. I was 11-years old and my older brother had another two years of life ahead of him. My health was waning and life wasn’t going so well for me. Increased insulin-resistance and the development of ulcers in my stomach saw me hospitalized almost as much as my brother. in fact, we often shared a hospital room together. I’ll let you decide whether that’s cool or just a little bit sad. But I digress…
I was in 7th grade and we had oral presentation to give in class on a topic of our choosing. As was usually my choice, I spoke about Type-1 Diabetes, its causes and how it’s treated. Because of the number of students, we had two separate 7th grade classes; 7A and 7B. I was in 7A. Didn’t mean I was smarter or further ahead. I think it went by alphabetical order. Anyway, on the third day of presentations when we were all done, the teacher announced that someone from 7B would be sharing his presentation with us.
In walked my friend Guillaume. My Sensei’s son. Friend and adoptive brother. He was asked by the teacher to share the same presentation as he had to his class in exchange for bonus points. Considering she found the presentation worthy enough to share with another class, I had difficulty grasping WHY he would need bonus points, but whatever kept me from doing actual work was fine by me, back then.
Guillaume went on to give a presentation about Uechi Ryu karate, how long he had been practicing it and the benefits it provided him in life, thus far. He capped off his presentation with a demonstration of a form, or kata, which I now know as well. While the rest of the class was busy snickering at the movement and making fun of him, I was captivated by what I was seeing. The flow, the movement, the gracefulness… My eyes were open to the potential of what I was seeing.
It was at this point that I had called Guillaume at home and asked about class times and location. I joined the same month. I had tried other styles and attempted different things, but none struck quite as deep in my soul as Uechi Ryu did. I would go on to study Uechi for the next 33 years. It would ultimately save my life and help forge me into the person I am today. All of that from a simple ten-minute presentation in class. Nice.
Our instincts provide for more than we usually assume. And as the old saying goes, we often find our destiny on the road we least thought to travel. All things happen for a reason. If the teacher hadn’t asked Guillaume to share his presentation with out class, I might have never been exposed to Uechi Ryu. I likely never would have joined. And my health may have continued to deteriorate to an uncorrectable level. Who knows? I certainly don’t. I just know to appreciate life as it’s been offered and continue to live life with no regrets. ☯️