Classes over the Thanksgiving week are often small, as dojo members – in the tradition of the holiday – travel to or host family gatherings. Nonetheless, this year on the eve of Thanksgiving 13 members, from our youngest to our oldest, white belts outnumbering black and brown belts, gathered in the dojo with a common purpose: To express our gratitude for our dojo’s founding, now 41 years ago, and its founder, LH Lazarus (Godan). (Last year, our dojo became 40.) That a dojo exists and remains thriving may seem ordinary to its regular practitioners. But it takes the continued action, commitment, resilience, and welcoming arms of people to make it so, in the case of our dojo over more than a generation, which is quite extraordinary.
Expressing gratitude from one’s heart is necessarily a personal exercise. Thus, we practiced. We made 410 oizuki, followed by 82 Tekki Shodan. That so many had come, and tried to sincerely say thanks by practicing their best, was deeply touching.