June 3, 2009

A word of thanks


As I swim through various ups and downs, laughs and cries, tears and smiles, it has been so nice to hear from people all over the globe and their positive experiences with Mike. I appreciate all the kind emails, and phone calls. Everyone I have spoken with has at least a dozen memories of Mikes laughter, humor, just his overall being. Mike was so many things to so many of us; friend, teacher, training partner, scientist, mentor, father figure, chef, photographer........ his legacy will be with all the people he has touched over the years.

If anything positive was to come from this tragedy it has been the re-connection that such events come with. I spoke to my very first Mantis teacher Keith Weiner this morning. We have fallen out of touch over the past few years, and it was refreshing to hear his voice and that he, and his family, are doing very well in NYC. I owe Keith eternally for without him I most likely would not be where I am today. He instilled a passion in me that I will never forget, and he has been a consummate supporter of all I do.

It has been a while since I spoke with Mike Gates, Steve Manning, and Jason Gregoire in the North Shore. Though bittersweet it was still nice to catch up and share memories of Mike. Mike, Steve, and Jason have always supported my attempts to expose martial artists to high level teachers and have become good friends and strong brothers over the years. I appreciate your support and love over the years guys!

One thing that has been constant are the stories. Everyone has a story about Mike, and though they are all different, we all know the story! Mike had a persona, a charisma that is one in a million! Sweet, outgoing, and yet one of the scariest mofo's when he turned it on! I have constantly had people accuse me, and ask me if the videos on Youtube with Mike tossing my ass all over the place are real, or if I am making him look good!?! Rest assured Mike had no problem making himself look good because his technique was TIGHT! I will write more on what Mike left behind soon. Right now I leave you with a beautiful poem someone shared on Mantis Quarterly forum:

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

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