Today is December 26, 2016. We are in North Carolina to register for SuperGrands. Team Togisala has combined with Team Dojo of South Carolina to form Team Dojo Elite. Professor Angie Abad-Mancia and her son are also here from Abad-Mancia MA to compete.
Sensei Butch has come out of an 18 year retirement to compete this year. He still holds the record for most consecutive world title wins in Men’s Japanese/Okinawan Forms 1993-1997. And as the story goes, Sensei Butch was in the finals with his teammate Sensei Marcus Young in 1998 and bowed out of the finals. Perhaps that would have been six consecutive wins in Men’s Japanese/Okinawan Forms.
2016 has been a turbulent year for Team Togisala. We unexpectedly lost our lease and had to move our of our dojo space in May. I spent March, April, and May looking for a new dojo space, applying for a business license, purchasing unsuccessful coverage, preparing for E Hula Mau, all while I managed my full-time career at Toyota Financial Services. It felt like every minute was consumed with karate, hula and Toyota. And as exhausting as it felt, I loved every minute of it. All the emotions could be channeled into my hula, and when our group placed third, my tears flowed freely.
For the summer months of June and July, classes were held old school style in my backyard on the grass. July was the month of Samoan construction. They even rocked rubber flip flop slippers in lieu of work boots. Sensei Butch and Sensei Frisco, along with his nephew, built ponywalls and painted them black for our new dojo space. I visited Home Depot on a weekly basis to purchase all the necessary materials. Dojo moms and students helped us clean and sanitize the mats that were stored in my garage. It was truly a team effort. By August, we had moved into the new dojo on Torrance Blvd and every month things are getting better and better.
At the moment, I am waiting for the team to finish registering. I will keep logging photos and blog posts here all week. It will help me shake off my nerves.