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Offered by Willy Strohmeier, Colorado Karate Club

Little 4 year old Jason was leaving with his mom after his Karate class, so I came over and said to him: “Jason, you did very well today, I’m proud of how much you have improved!”. While Jason smiled, mom looked at him and said: “Jason, what do you say?” He turned to me, bright eyed, and said: “Thank you Sensei!”

As they left the school, I thought to myself how kind and appropriate are those words: “Thank you”. I thought also some years back, remembering myself as that little child, thanking my own Sensei (teacher) for his work with me. Coming back to the present, I marveled to realize how fortunate I had been to have as my Sensei such a positive role model in my life.

You see, gratitude is recognizing and appreciating that someone has done something for us, which we could not have done for ourselves. Think about that, and think about all those wonderful people who have been there to help you along. Parents and relatives, that special teacher or coach, a mentor, a boss; a friend, a spouse. And then to reflect, if and how we allow our gratitude to influence our actions.

Beyond the polite “Thank you!”. Being grateful becomes part of our character, an attitude that we can embrace, a constant awareness of the goodness in those around us, and finally, a realization that we have a duty to do likewise for others.

For me, the sharing of my knowledge with a new generation of students, is how I fulfill my debt of gratitude toward my Sensei. But this debt, has never been a burden, I have found in this work, a personally fulfilling vocation. One that has given me even more satisfaction that I could have ever imagined. As Zig Ziglar aptly notes, “The more grateful you are, the more you have to be grateful for.”

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Colorado Karate Club