I attended a funeral on Monday that whilst a sad occasion was an extremely uplifting one. Funerals are at the end of the day a celebration of a life lived and a chance to bring closure with the final goodbyes being made and the body being either buried or cremated. Quite literally the final journey of a life. I have been to funerals that have a few people in attendance and others where the church was jammed to capacity. However death at the end of the day is not a popularity test but it is a chance to reflect and say our farewells.

This particular funeral was particularly poignant not just for me personally but for many people as he bade our farewells to an extraordinary man. He was not the average person that you meet in life, he was different but in a positive way, he was a humble man but he possessed great knowledge and wisdom beyond his years, and although he never had any formal education he had a gift. That gift was the ability to inspire and motivate people to believe that they can achieve anything in life, they just have to believe and work at it.

There is a saying in Shotokan Karate that was first promoted by the master himself Sensei Funakoshi and it states this” The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of the participant.” This maxim was promoted by my friend throughout the 54 years that he trained and taught ¬†Karate around the world. Fittingly at his funeral were many students whose lives he had changed for the better. In attendance were two former world champions who were forged at his dojos in Birmingham and then went on to be the best in the world.

Most people live a fair enough life, we muddle through as best we can and hopefully do not have any bad experiences or indeed do bad things and at the end we fade away missed for a while by those who remember. This man will leave a different legacy as he will be remembered by many thousands not for what he took but for what he gave. Truly a nice legacy to have and one that is well deserved.