Remembering Joseph

From the Teachers and Students
of the
Maywood Academy of Okinawan Karate

About 6 months ago, Joseph Wolf came to our Dojo to fulfill a lifelong dream. He had always wanted to study the Martial Arts, and due to a variety of circumstances, his opportunity to begin had come

Joseph came to us when he did because he was now in remission from Leukemia, which he had been battling for 7 years. Joseph was a handsome fifteen year old. He was always smiling, as if in appreciation for every little correction and bit of advice he received. Joseph was making good progress in his training, but after a few months we noticed that he would begin to tire in class and we would ask him to rest and watch. Eventually, Joseph would be unable to train, but would come to the Dojo anyway so he could watch the class.

Last Saturday, May 12, 2007, Joseph’s father and sister came to the Dojo to see us. They informed us that Joseph had taken a turn for the worse and he had, at best, a few days left. They asked us for a new uniform, explaining that Joseph was requesting burial in his gi. We gave them a new gi and a set of patches, and after we got over our shock at the turn of events and Joseph’s request, we decided to visit Joseph at the hospital and present him with an honorary black belt.

Joseph was unresponsive, but we were assured that he was aware of what was happening. He was too heavily sedated to respond. We later learned that he passed away soon after we left. Joseph’s last wishes were honored, and he was laid to rest as a Black Belt.

Joseph taught us more than we taught him in the brief time he was with us. His attitude and courage was an example to us all. He was never bitter, was always smiling, and always gave us his best effort. We will never forget the lessons he taught us about how to live, and how to face the end we all share.