June 2, 2009
My teacher, my friend.... farewell
I woke this morning to a blunt reminder of the frailty of life. My teacher, more importantly my friend, Mike Martello passed on to the next world this morning in Belgium. I know very little details other than Mike passed sometime this morning of cardiac arrest.
I find myself in a fog to be honest. This is so surreal, and frankly will take weeks, if not months and years to digest how this could happen to someone so young and in shape!
I just spoke to him a few days ago as we have been trying to organize his next visit to Seattle in the fall. For the last several years Mike has made the journey from his home in Belgium to visit me and my students in both New Mexico and here in Washington state. I was the first person to host Mike over here in North America for open seminars, and just recently Mike was able to expand his teachings to groups in New York City, as well as Texas.
There will be more information coming as I get it in, and I will be sharing more of my memories and experiences with Mike as I sift through the various emotions and feelings that come with such a situation. I am sure Mike passed with a smile, and most likely had just finished or started practicing, so I know he died happy. He always commented on how lucky of a life he led to be able to train day in and day out (and trust me, when I say "train" I mean FUCKING TRAIN!! Mike kept an insane schedule and pushed himself every single hour of every single day!), and share the arts he loved so passionately with his students in China, Taiwan, Germany, Belgium, and the US.
Their are few people who we can honestly say have touched our lives in the most positive of ways and Mike certainly was one for me. Our relationship was born out of BS political issues within the CMA community, and though we both were warned by certain parties to avoid the other, it was exactly this silliness that cemented our relationship as friends and as student-teacher. The parallels in our martial journey brought us closer together and when many criticized me and my approach, Mike not only supported my decisions but he helped me in every way possible to improve my understanding and abilities within the martial arts.
I am signing off for now. This is too much for me to handle to be honest. I will leave you with some video of Mike and his teachings. Search Youtube for hours and hours of footage of Mike with his teacher, his students, doing seminars, playing, fighting, performing etc.
I do not believe so much in good byes anymore. I believe we will all meet again on another plane, another place. Mike I cannot tell you how you have helped me in life, and I cannot fathom how much I will miss you. Life is completely unfair to many of us as I will never understand why you were taken from us so soon. You had so much to teach and share with us. Be safe in your journey and know that our hearts and prayers are with you. I will certainly be drinking one (or three) for you brother.
I love you my friend. I will see you on the other side.