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Offered by: Colorado Karate Club

In 2019, after almost 20 years since the last time I set foot on Lima, Peru, I had a chance to revisit some of my old neighborhoods, friends, and family.

One of my obligatory visits was to go see my Sensei, my Karate teacher since I was a toddler. Luis Chiock Wong, the son of Chinese immigrants, started training in Kung Fu as a young boy in the Chinese community. Later learning Judo and Karate, then teaching Karate for several decades, integrating the Peruvian National Karate Team in the 70’s as a competitor, and as its coach in the 80’s.

Seeing my Sensei again, gave me an amazing feeling of fulfillment and of gratitude for all that this man has done for me. It was a great visit where I got to ask him about his start in Karate training, his experiences, and to finally ask him, why did he stop training and teaching… Which may be the subject of a future article.

The word Sensei, which means “teacher”, literally translates as “the one who has come before”. The Japanese use it to refer to school teachers, lawyers, doctors, and other figures of authority. For Martial Artists though, Sensei means much more. I always saw my Sensei as a mentor, someone who always had my best interest at heart. He could be strict and demanding, and he never celebrated mediocrity. Some would even consider the things he would do, say (or not say), as harsh, but it was all with a purpose. To forge strong willed individuals, resilient, and driven. While instilling a strong sense of fairness and honor within the student.

Seeing him again after so many years, and me, now being a Sensei to a new generation of Karate-ka, I wondered if he fully realized the impact he has had on people he will never meet in a far away country. How many young Karate students, without knowing it, owe him a debt of gratitude for what he taught me. In the same way, I may never know who and how my teaching and mentoring will touch over the years. I only hope that it continues to flow and multiply through many generations.

But this is not just for the Martial Arts, if you have something to offer, knowledge and experience in any subject, you may just as well be a Sensei in your own right. You have been there before, and that experience can help others who will come after you. Do not let your light die with you, in this generation, let it be carried forward by those who now come, and will come after you. You may never know the amazing impact you may have on future generations, but they will. And in them, your memory, and your light, will live on.

Dedicated to my Sensei, Luis Chiock Wong