These past few day have been spent slipping into short bursts of reminiscence as I’ve pored over old photos for inclusion in my book; with the 15th Anniversary Gasshuku only 2 1/2 months away, and Takamiyagi Sensei’s arrival in only 7 weeks, I’ve been looking at old photos, mementos, and gifts that I’ve accumulated over the years. Each one tells a story of the time and occasion, and for me, it’s a private time capsule that takes me back in my mind to the place or event where each gift was presented. I’ve received, t-shirts, challenge coins, cups and mugs with different dojo emblems, I’ve received custom weapons, banners, and books. Due to the auspicious nature of this year’s gasshuku, I’ve received several inquiries about gifts for the occasion; my answer is always the same; dollar value isn’t important at all when giving gifts from the heart; I prefer to give something that is personal to me will always be appreciated more than something that anyone can buy. This year, I’ve chosen very personal gifts for my friends and supporters that have helped make this year’s gasshuku possible; the dollar value isn’t really high, but it’s something that can’t be bought anywhere.
At the end of a training trip in 2003, I was given the copy of Okinawa Den Bubishi (seen in the accompanying photo) by my teacher on the day I left Okinawa to come back home. Although these copies can be easily purchased in Okinawa, mine is special because my teacher gave it to me; not a copy that he had picked up a few days ago to give to, but his personal copy with his handwritten notes and comparison on the pages. To me, this is a priceless treasure, and one of my most prized possessions.
Throughout your martial arts journey, you will accumulate these little trinkets, treasures, and mementos; when we first receive these gifts, they are very much appreciated, but like fine wine, their value increases with age as they remind us of friends and teachers that have enriched our lives; these men and women that have made our journey even sweeter, are the true priceless treasures.