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In my previous life — before I moved out on my own — I was a Karate wife. More specifically, I was a Kenpo wife, a Black Belt wife. Around our house we ate, drank, and slept Kenpo Karate…it was the hub around which everything else revolved, with a typical week finding my husband and daughter training six days out of seven. Was it overkill? Yes. Was it challenging? Definitely. Did I miss it when I moved away? Sometimes.

So it was with a feeling of some nostalgia — and trepidation — that I asked to go to today’s Purple through Black Belt Seminar with Sifu Richard “Huk” Planas at The Karate School in Lemoore, CA. Besides being the best of the best in Ed Parker’s lineage of American Kenpo Karate, “Huk” is one of my favorite Karate people, and I have missed him. Even though my own Kenpo career was blessedly short (I hold the honorary title of “World’s Oldest Living White Belt” and I tried the patience of my instructor enormously, I learn something new every time I watch Mr. Planas teach. (I was never his student, merely a fellow Scotch drinker and music lover. So I didn’t need to be in awe of him as his students were…but I still appreciate him for his genius.)

Dave and Denise Calhoun have built a close-knit community at The Karate School. Their children (who are still little ones in my mind’s eye) have all grown up in the school. And countless other children have benefited from the positive environment and mentoring they received there.

The big lesson I took away from today is that even though huge changes may occur in our lives, the people who occupy places in our hearts remain there (although their roles may change). David Perez (my absolutely favorite Karate person in the entire world), “Huk” Planas, the Calhouns, even my husband-who-lives-across-town who is the most dedicated Karateka anywhere — thank you for welcoming me back into the Kenpo family today. I have missed you all, and your open acceptance of me today warmed my heart in ways you will never know. Thank you.