A good friend of mine is moving.
This is a guy I’ve done Aikido with for the past five years.
When you do something like Aikido you develop great trust in your training partners. Over the course of years, as you grow in the art, as you lend them your body again and again to help them learn, and they do the same for you, and you each learn to receive the techniques with more power without getting injured, a unique relationship develops.
You may not see these people outside the dojo. But for the hours you spend in practice, you share something special.
Something about Aikido attracts a very diverse group of people. I live in a fairly diverse community, but our dojo is even more so. Lot of different national origins, religions, professions, and ages are represented.
My friend who is leaving is a Muslim. I am going to miss him. Through Aikido I’ve gotten to know him and I’ve taught his young son in our children’s class. I think many Americans don’t get to know many Muslims very well. My friend is such a deeply good man, and is raising a good family. I am happy for this new opportunity for my him. I’m so thankful for the happy accident of blundering into an Aikido dojo where I could meet such extraordinary people.
In a recent email, my friend closed by saying “May God bless you and your family”.
I have never been so moved by such words. People throw around talk of “blessings” and “being blessed” all the time — so often it becomes part of the background noise of American life. But coming from my friend, it had such impact. It was appreciated. When a Muslim wishes blessings upon you, you know you have been blessed.
Thank you, my friend.