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 honored 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!

Mike Valenti
Grade 10 High School Student