I knew that this day was coming when after the last Thursday class of 2012 Sensei mentioned that this would be his last year end in the Glenview dojo.Â I tried my hardest to not believe it but as 2013 progressed, I realized that Sensei was going to retire.Â Â That day came today when after 42 years and 18 days of sharing Karate with us he took his Karate belt off for one last time.
There are many accomplishments that Sensei Cieplik has achieved over those years such as, turning little children into adults, training world champions, turning introverted students into confident and strongÂ people and most importantly he has been the person that all of us has looked up to.Â He did all this and never once asked for anything more than us to do our best and show him our smiles.Â For many, he has taken on the roles of father, brother, uncle, mentor and to me, a very close friend that has enriched my life just by knowing him.
Even though there were many tears shed tonight, there were also many smiles because we are all grateful to have trained with him and are very happy that he can enjoy his retirement in good health.
In the seven years that I have trained with Sensei, I have many great memories of things that he shared with me and I would like to share two of those with you.
The first one that I brought with me to every class were words that Sensei often said to all of us, “when you are here on my floor, you are safe and I will protect you from whatever is out there.”Â No matter how bad a day I had at work or whatever went wrong in my life, I knew for those two hours I was safeÂ and could focus on Karate and nothing else.Â Each and every Thursday, I couldn’t wait to get to class because I knew that it was my time and that Sensei would make sure that no one would take it away from me.Â For many years, I always walked out of the dojo behind Sensei because I felt that I needed to have his back in return for him always keeping me and my family safe while we were there.
The second is something that Sensei said to a group of students many years ago.Â He told a story about when he asked his Sensei what he could do to repay him for all that he had shared with him and his response was, share that I have shared with you with two students so that they can carry on the art.Â That is something that I have tried to do for many years now.Â All the students that work with are getting a part of Sensei Cieplik when they train with me.Â When I am helping with class, many of you will hear he me say, “with the body”, “from hip”, “don’t drop my pizza”, “scare then with your foot work”, “punch them with your knee” and many more and all of those are things that Sensei has shared with me that I am trying to pass on to you so that you can share this with your students and carry on the art.
No matter when or where we train, Sensei will always be in our hearts and it is up to us to continue training, share with others what he has shared with us and move forward.
Please leave a comment below and tell us what Sensei Cieplik has shared with you.