Thanks, Jen

The year 2007 is upon us and with it we start our training in our new dojo. Initially, I was going to write an entry that describes the new dojo: how great it is, how much work has gone into it, and so on. As I thought about how much has gone on (and continues to go on) to make the new dojo a success, I realized how many people there are to thank for their hard work and support. But there is one person, out of everyone who has helped with the dojo, that deserves special thanks: my wife, Jen.

My wife does not train in aikido. Her interest in the art stems primarily from the fact that she knows how important aikido is to me. She’s known this since the first day we met–in fact, she is probably the first woman I dated who truly respected the amount of time I spent at the dojo. I think part of her understanding is derived from her own background as a professional ballet dancer; she knows too well the importance of training. So she has always supported my efforts to understand this martial art.

But, as we all know, there are many different levels of support. It would be very easy for Jen to simply say “I support your training by not giving you a hard time about doing it.” That certainly would be reasonable. After all, we have our daughter to love and care for, our house, our dogs. Life is busy enough that any hour of the day is a precious commodity–the fact that I can spend any of those hours at the dojo is a blessing.

Jen does so much more than just “let” me train, however. She has spent countless hours, both at the new dojo and at home, working on making it a success. Jen’s skills and business management are amazing; she has an eye for catching the smallest detail, the most unlikely corner case and ensuring that we have it covered. While I am reasonably good at the big picture, she is the one who fills in the details. Over the past couple of weeks she has painted, copied fliers, cleaned, labeled, organized, decorated, and cleaned some more. She has done this knowing, as the dojo commences classes this week, that it will result (for the short term) in me spending more time away from home, not less. Whereas I would have wanted the dojo beautiful but would have likely ended up with it as decently functional, she started wanting it beatiful and ended up making it amazing.

There are simply not enough words to express the love and gratitude I feel for Jen. I feel truly blessed to have a partner who understands and appreciates what aikido is to me to the level that Jen does. So, while I cannot thank her enough, I can at least thank her as much as I can. That includes this post (though she hardly checks this blog).

Perhaps we can all take a moment to thank our families and friends, without whom, our path through the martial arts would be lonely indeed.

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