Most people around the dojo know that we usually go into the holidays and kick off the new year with a new (or oldie but goodie) theme. This year it’s “JOY”. A daily devotional that I’m into had this particular reading: It said that the negative (or dark) force doesn’t want your money or your stuff - it wants your joy. If your joy can be taken, that’s just vile and wicked. However, if you can be joyful even under very difficult circumstances, you are giving that force a black eye. I’m trying to be joyful because I know it’s a good thing. I’m also motivated to be joyful by the example of others, some who are not joyful and some who are. One young person here at the dojo is joyful even while she’s been sick and in pain for months and months. When she comes around, she’s smiling like she just won the lottery. I feel I owe it to her to be joyful as well. I’m asking everyone to give a go at being joyful. What’s there to lose?
This coming December 19th marks the 38 year anniversary of me achieving my black belt. What a glorious day that was. My then closest training partner, Ernie and I, reveled in glee and we danced and danced in jubilation and joy throughout the night. I remember sleeping with my black belt on, which is probably a funny thing for a 24 year old to do. When I look back, it seemed that I was much younger. That’s probably because time went by really fast for me between the time I started doing karate in 1970 and earning shodan in 1979. During those nine years, I trained with three different teachers. I always appreciated the knowledge that I gained from each of them and the foundation they helped me to build because that foundation was a solid base from which to embark on my life’s journey in karate.
Now, here I sit having just celebrated my 62nd birthday. Another unique group of people here at TAK just earned their first degree black belts – and I was part of their journey. Wow! I’m not sure if any of them danced into the night but I bet they all were just as joyful and content as I was when it happened to me. I feel so blessed to be a part of that and so many other first dan promotions. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
– Sensei Floyd Burk