Dojo Update: The Rising Phoenix
Life at the dojo has been different for quite some time. Rent increased in November but Hanshi and Dori didn’t raise our monthly dues (only $60 for 12 classes, as it is—a steal!). However, they did remodel their basement and move the school a few miles out of downtown Tinyville and into their home. There is a word in Japanese for “home dojo,” and it implies humbleness and dedication, a poignant summary of our group.
Sienna graduated from high school, got a job at the local grocery store, and is taking classes at the community college. She still lives at home, but doesn’t train much at all. She rolled her car on Christmas Eve trying to avoid a deer, and totaled the vehicle. The top crushed in on her and gave her a concussion, the windows blew out, and her shoes were found a hundred yards from the car. She survived with hardly a scratch and a little ace bandage on her wrist.
I suppose that was the cap on an intense year for our dojo family, as Dori was diagnosed with cancer early in 2008 and went through multiple rounds of chemo and radiation, coming out the other side and into remission. All of that plus moving the dojo, and things have been quite intense even though it seems Hanshi never skipped a beat with his instruction.
Looking into 2009, Lis has to move out of state in support of her partner’s dental practice and will soon be leaving us. Jeff is positive and dedicated as ever, and still the best uke artist around (uke is the art of falling). Nate is even more passionate nowadays, driving 25 miles one way to class three times a week. Sarah earned her yellow belt and still digs coming to class.
“We’re small but we’re happy,” I told Hanshi one night. It was my way of saying thank you. I don’t know what keeps him going, but even on my worst days I know that if he can do it, I can. And so I keep coming back. I keep training. And I’m going to try again to keep writing about it as well.