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It's a Wonderful...

"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?".....Clarence Oddbody, AS2

 

     In Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life",  Jimmy Stewart plays the part of George Bailey.  George is saddled with running a small Savings and Loan, putting his life and aspirations on hold.  Due to some missing money, George decides to commit suicide to cover the debt with insurance money.  Clarence Oddbody, AS2 ( Angel Second Class ) is sent from heaven to make things right for George.  If he does, he will earn his wings.  Clarence decides to convince George how important his life has been by showing him what things would be like if he were never born.

 "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?".....Clarence Oddbody, AS2

 

     In Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life",  Jimmy Stewart plays the part of George Bailey.  George is saddled with running a small Savings and Loan, putting his life and aspirations on hold.  Due to some missing money, George decides to commit suicide to cover the debt with insurance money.  Clarence Oddbody, AS2 ( Angel Second Class ) is sent from heaven to make things right for George.  If he does, he will earn his wings.  Clarence decides to convince George how important his life has been by showing him what things would be like if he were never born.

     As I watched the GKK Fiftieth Celebration guest speakers say a few words, I wondered how many lives have been touched by the GKK members over the last fifty years.  How many holes there would have been. Yes, it's just karate for many, but each teacher leaves a profound mark, whether or not he or she realizes it. 

     Money isn't the reason for today's declining quality of education.  There are kids in third world countries who learn in tents.  Self- indulgent, apathetic, permissive and absent parents are the main reason:  lack of structure, rules, guidelines and role models. I wonder how many kids, who were never given the time of day by their parents, found a mentor in a white GKK uniform.  A mentor who took the time to give them a feeling of self - worth and set standards.  I'm not writing about whiny ass kids who think the world has come to an end because they didn't get the latest video game for Christmas.  I'm referring to kids whose home life is in shambles, a home that presents a danger rather than a refuge.  How many would have ended up on the wrong side of the law instead of becoming productive members of society if it weren't for these mentors?  How many learned something on the dojo floor about themselves which they carried for the rest of their lives? How many were taught respect for others?  How many learned the outcome of their lives is pretty much in their own hands?

     It's a moot point.  We will never know, but something much more than a martial system was learned by many students.

     I received an e mail from Mr. Stamper a few years ago.  He was referring to some entry fee details on an upcoming event in Toledo.  A line in his e mail read; "those who can't afford to pay will be added to the prepaid list." That pretty much sums up what the GKK is and has always been about - members who love the art and teach, not to make a living at it, but rather to share their knowledge. 

     But, it takes more than members to have an organization, it takes someone who can keep it all together, set a standard and most of all, maintain that standard.

     In another e mail, I had a question for Mr. Stamper.  He answered by saying he hadn't gotten to it yet.  He wrote that he had been taking care of GKK business for about four hours that evening and had only gotten about 20 percent done.  I, like most everyone else, didn't realize how time consuming running this organization can be.

     Have all the years, long hours and effort been worthwhile?  Would all that time and effort have been better spent elsewhere? Depends on your point of view.  If you end up with something to be proud of, something that touched the lives of many, something that probably wouldn't be here today if it weren't for your efforts, then the answer is yes.

     You have become, as Frank Capra would say;  "the richest man in town."