Often we do not know what those who love us do for us in silence and when no one else is looking, the things they do without ever asking for recognition or appreciation. These are the little things that do not seem like a big deal, but that add up to us feeling loved and supported if we are paying attention. Unfortunately, all too often these little things and the compassion behind them go unnoticed and unrequited because we are too busy to see them, too used to them for them to seem special, or simply too self absorbed to care.
For two years, the Taikyoku Budo group, and eventually the Brazilian jiu-jitsu group, trained at my house, in my home dojo, Seiya Dojo. My wife gave me permission and support in building the studio. She allowed these people into our home to train several nights a week and on weekend mornings. Sometimes she even served us food. Not once in those two years did she complain about the knocks on the door, the noise coming from the basement, or the late hours we trained until. Never did she hold it over my head as a favor she was doing for me. She knew it was important to me and she supported it.
One evening, in the middle of class, I had to go upstairs to use the bathroom. Someone was in the hall bathroom, so I went into the bathroom attached to the master bedroom where we slept. When I walked in, I realized two things. First, in two years, I had never before come upstairs during class to see what it sounded like from my wife’s perspective. Second, I could hear everything going on in the dojo from the master bathroom, which meant that she could as well. It immediately struck me how much my wife, who is not the suffer in silence type, tolerated so that I could chase my dreams. The next morning I thanked her and that began my search for what would become Kogen Dojo.
-Robert Van Valkenburgh is a practitioner of Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Kogen Dojo