A New Year and a New Hope

adult karate class

In November Canada Ryusei students participated in a clinic in Sherbrooke, Quebec, hosted by Chantal Lepage-Sensei and her senior student, Anik Desrosiers.

Joining the Quebec Ryusei students were participants from three Ontario dojo, including Matt Mannerow and Ronan Johnson from Grey-Bruce Ryusei; Rick Going and Alex Mack from Ottawa Ryusei; and Carminha Caneira and I from Barrie Ryusei.

karate celebration

This was the first time our dojo from the two provinces have been able to get together and train since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was wonderful to see everyone and there was great spirit and harmony in the clinics and when we socialized afterwards.

Peter Giffen karate

In the pictures you can see us training, sitting down together for a lunch break, and then some of us spending an evening together at the chalet the Ontario group was renting, for a long night of talk and laughter.

Unfortunately Lepage-Sensei could not participate in the clinics and socializing because her father was quite sick. He died not long after. I am grateful that she was able to hold the clinic even though she was coping with her personal tragedy.

I am reminded that 2022 was in a lot of ways a year of suffering and loss. My own mother died in the fall. People I know suffered and died from grim diseases. Others have had to cope with stresses and mental health issues related to the pandemic.

It is easy to become depressed and saddened when faced with these harsh realities of our all-too-brief existence. But they are also a reminder that we must live well and fully for the sake of our departed, as well as our own.

While life has great suffering, it also holds great joy and contentment that we can experience if we leave ourselves open to it. The Sherbrooke clinic was a happy reminder of that truth.

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