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RyuBuKan Dojo

 News for December, 2000

12/30/00 -- As the year closes what has seen both the darkest and  brightest times of my life, I take this moment to reflect on a few of the positive aspects of the last twelve months.    

The year began with the renewal of our self-defense classes for the City of Martinez where we acquired a new location and an opportunity for the students to experience some of the traditional lessons taught in the dojo.  Most of them enjoyed combining the safety awareness focus of these sessions with karate training.  It is my intention to give these students more of this experience and thereby a further insight into the many benefits of martial arts training.  

The ensuing months brought many opportunities to exchange  knowledge with other students and instructors in various arts.  I had the pleasure of meeting students and teachers of other martial disciplines in friendly and interactive settings.  My students also shared in these experiences and benefited more than from any tournament we could attend.  The foundation established by these friends and fellow teachers is a bond we will continue to forge into the future.   I would like to thank Jim Silvan, Ben Abarca, Tim Evans, Chris Peterson, Janice Okamoto, Joey Cruz, Nyree Tupasi, John Lofton, Ken Shockley, August O'Neal, Ken Pitts, Vinton Koklich, Carl Caudill, Alfredo Bandalan, Sonny Napial, Rocky Ryan, and the many other teachers and students involved in these events for giving of their time and knowledge.  

As a result of the generosity and friendship of the Banda Family, I was able to spend time with Junko, Julia, and Christina in Hawaii during September and December.  Among the special gifts acquired from this treasure was the chance to train daily on the private and very beautiful beach that was our back yard.  The sunrises that filled me with newfound strength and purpose are unforgettable.  During my years in the martial arts I have trained harder but never with the spirit I experienced in that special time and place.  My heartfelt gratitude to everyone who helped make this possible.          

Later in the year we had the first black belt test conducted for our students. I had initially hoped that as many as five people would be qualified for this rank by November when the test has originally scheduled.  As it turned out, only my eldest daughter, Julia, took the test on October 29.  She performed as expected and earned her advancement to shodan (first degree black belt).  Although her sister, Christina, was unable to test due to her challenge with liver cancer, she was awarded an honorary shodan certificate presented to Julia and me by the instructors in attendance, all of who know Christina and of how deserving she is of this honor.  Christina was never able to wear her black belt but it will hang in a place of honor in her room and serve as a lasting memory of her achievements and contributions in the martial arts.  

Lastly, I would like to share a letter (click here for that message) sent to each member of the RyuBuKan Dojo that attempts to express my thanks and a few of our plans for the new year.   I wish you all the same joys and gifts that I and my family have and leave you with a final thought.   If there is a lesson in the challenges that we faced in this year, and that eventually test us all, it is that we face them with those that truly care and love us.  We must consistently strive to make ourselves and each other stronger everyday and resolve to use that strength to help one another when that time comes.   We may never need to use our martial training in any other fashion but this.  Don't fail yourself and those who need you by doing any less.  

Happy New Year! 

               Pedro J. Bernardy