I recently left home to attend Queen’s University and to partake in the Arts and Science Under-Graduate society declaring psychology as my main area of study. While packing up one day and getting ready to leave, I came across my old notebook that I had started when I received my junior brown belt. I remember how I used to write down everything I had learned in order to make sure that I never forgot anything that Sensei had ever taught me; all the way from my stances and techniques to how to properly use my chopsticks. It got me thinking about everything that had happened to me since I had joined East Wind at the age of seven.

I had come from England, leaving behind friends and family but keeping with me my love of the martial arts. I searched high and low (well actually my parents did because I didn’t know how to use the phonebook yet) for the perfect place to continue my training. Luckily we found this little tiny place in the corner of a parking lot that was incredible. I met Sensei Mike and Sensei Laura and instantly decided this was the place I wanted to be. The training atmosphere that they had created was unbelievable. I felt such a sense of pride and joy training with them and all of the other members in the dojo. With their help and guidance I continued to train and improve my skills. I traveled to Okinawa with them to further my training and to help prepare myself for the World Championships in Atlanta, Georgia. Since then I have been back to Okinawa for a second time and it just keeps getting better and better. Training on the beautiful beaches with the masters was just a dream come true.

Sitting there in my room that day, holding onto that old notebook, I realized just how important karate has been to me. It had transformed from this tiny little girl into a strong, independent woman, and it was all because of their help and guidance. Karate was not only was a great way of staying healthy and feeling safe; it was a way of life, a way of existing. I am so incredibly honoured to be a part of such an amazing family and I can’t thank them all enough for how much they all mean to me. Thank you guys!

Hannah Johnson
Queen’s University Student and founding member of EWBLC