Patrick O'Keefe: Hello. This is Patrick O'Keefe, and I manage KarateForums.com. I started the site well over 20 years ago, and we've been fortunate to have so many incredible members join our community since launching in 2001. Among the members who are most well-known is Sensei8 or Bob. November 15th marks 10 years that Bob has been a member of our staff. In honor of this occasion, we sent him a physical award, and I've posted an announcement on the community where you can share your thoughts about Bob and how his contributions to KarateForums.com have touched you.
I have some things I'd like to say, but first, I'd like you to hear from some other community members who I invited to talk about Bob and reflect on what this milestone represents.
Brian (bushido_man96): Hi, this is Bushido_man96, and I want to talk about Sensei8 for a few moments. I met Sensei8 on a different forum many years ago. He and I conversed. We felt like we hit it off pretty well. I was able to talk him into coming over to KarateForums.com. When he did, I really think things started changing at KarateForums.com. He's been a great contributor ever since the first day he showed up there, always positive and always helpful for any and all members of the community. He brings the essence of martial spirit to KarateForums.com.
Some of the favorite memories I have about Bob, other than some of our times over there at the other forum, was the time him and I got to meet and actually trained together for a couple of days. He was gracious. He came up to train at my dojang, and we shared a lot of good times and a lot of good information. It's something I'll always remember. Bob has just been a great part of this community ever since he got here. I just want to say, thanks, Bob. I want to congratulate you on 10 years being on staff. That's quite the milestone. I'm looking forward to 10 more years of being on staff together and contributing together at KarateForums.com. Thank you, Bob.
Keith (Wado Heretic): Hi, Bob. This is Keith from across the pond in Sunny Old Wales. You might better recognize me as Wado Heretic. I'll start by getting the elephant in the room out of the way. I just want to wish you the best in your ongoing fight against cancer and to let you know that you are in my thoughts.
Now on to the positive purpose of this message, which is to thank you for all you've done for KarateForums over the years you've been a participant and also assisted with its running. Also to thank you for all the time you've spent in the world of Karate and martial arts because I'm more than sure you have made a huge and positive impact on many people's lives trough your time in karate.
For my personal thanks, I wish to let you know how important your posts of Solid Post have always been to me. I'm not one of life's confident writers, and I'm also one of life's perfectionists, so I always find something wrong in my writing. I've always been terrified of posting just in case someone picks it apart. Your encouragement, and I can't overstate it through just those simple acknowledgments, has been what has motivated me to keep posting and try to get better at writing, so thank you always for being an encouraging and positive presence.
To carry on with that, I just wanted to speak to what I think I have learned most from your own writing, and that is to be earnest and to speak from a place of feeling and authenticity always. I've always admired your loyalty to your teachers, to your sōke, and to your dai-sōke, but also your honesty and willingness to admit there were times you disagreed with them that sometimes you wish maybe they had done things differently, or you've decided to take a path that was different from maybe what they would have assigned you.
I've always thought that's a very mature and important lesson in loyalty, which is, ultimately, it doesn't have to be cult-like adherence to an image of a person. It's more about friendship and growing in friendship. I think that's something that sometimes is lost in martial arts, especially those of us who belong to traditional systems and we're trying to keep traditions alive. I've always admired your mature attitude to your relationship with your teachers, and despite those disagreements you may have had, your continued loyalty to Shidōkan and everything you've helped them build up and you watched him build up and you participated in.
Just to round off, I couldn't fail to address the Bob aphorism, "The proof is on the floor." That's actually been a big influence when I sat down to write my dojo kun, the code of conduct and virtues for my own dojo. I really struggled at first what needs to be the most important thing. I thought of a aphorism. I almost stole it word for word, but actually, the heart of that message is sincerity, being honest about the work you've put in and the worth of that work you've put in and what it means.
I settled upon for my first virtue, makoto, honesty, sincerity, being sincere about your efforts. When you do train, you are putting authentic effort and you are reflecting on yourself. You are actually being self-critical. You're not getting overly proud. You remain humble, and ultimately, you cut the proof on the floor. Again, that gem of wisdom summed up in those words has been an influence. I want to thank you for introducing them to me.
I'll sign off here because there's so much I could say. It would get overly long, and there's so many other people who want to say things. Although we've never met, I feel as though there's been a coming together of minds. I admire your wisdom. I admire, as I said, your loyalty to your teachers, and yet, also, your humility and willingness despite all your years in the martial arts. There are times you would say you just don't know. In the world as it is, that's a superpower, the willingness to admit when you don't know.
It's been good getting to know you through words, through the magic of KarateForums. Again, thank you just for being you, Bob. Thank you always for giving your time to read and respond because time is the one thing we never get back, and it's incredibly valuable. Thank you for giving it. Stay safe, be well, and again, you're in my thoughts. Thank you for everything.
Noah Legel (Wastelander): Haisai, everybody. This is Noah Legel, also known as Wastelandor on KarateForums.com. I just want to jump on here and say a few words about Bob and congratulate him as well on being a staff member at KarateForums.com for 10 years now, which is a huge milestone. He's definitely been there longer than I have. In fact, he was one of the first members of the community to really make an impact on me. He left an impression almost immediately.
He has long been the type of person to throw out all sorts of information and just be very open in sharing his knowledge as a very experienced martial artist. Somebody who has been around the martial arts community for a long time, he's got a lot of great information to share, and he's always willing to share it.
Beyond that, it was very evident to me early on that Bob is not just the type to chime in when he feels like he has something to contribute as far as knowledge or information, he also likes to throw out encouraging words, respond to people's posts online with just encouragement that they are writing good material, that they have good ideas, that they're on the right track, that they should keep going, and just overall being a very positive person.
That's not something you see a lot on the internet for sure, but you don't see it a whole lot in the real world either, unfortunately. I think we need more people like Bob that can be not just experienced and respected in their field with a lot of information and knowledge to share, but also just a lot of kindness and compassion and encouragement. That's something that I think everybody could use more of in their life.
Ramona (ramymensa): Hello, Bob. I'm Ramona. You know me as Ramymensa on the forums. Just wanted to take few seconds of your time to tell you how much your contributions meant for the community and congratulate you for a decade as a staffer on KarateForums.com. I don't know how the community would look like without your insightful replies and kindness. Fortunately, I don't have to if you're here every day welcoming new members and sharing so much advice. Happy anniversary here on KarateForums, and I wish you a speedy recovery. You've won all your battles and you will win the war. If there's anything I can help you with, don't hesitate to reach out. Your friend, Ramona.
Patrick O'Keefe: Hi, it's Patrick, again. I'd like to thank Brian, AKA Bushido_man96; Keith, AKA Wado Heretic; Noah, AKA Wastelander; and Ramona, AKA Ramymensa for accepting my invitation to join this audio tribute to Bob. For many members who have joined our community over the last 10+ years, one of the first, if not the first, member they've encountered is Bob. Bob has made countless people feel welcome here. We just heard two great examples of that in the story shared by Keith and Noah.
When it comes to an online community, I don't know that there is any greater impact that you can have than to make another person feel welcome. That ability is one of the great gifts that Bob has shared with us. Bob has been an incredible contributor to our community, and that feels like an exceptionally obvious statement on my part. I would say that his posts have easily touched hundreds of thousands of people.
When it comes to believing in KarateForums.com, no one has a stronger belief in this community than Bob. There's a reason he's won the community spirit award in the KarateForums.com awards for eight years in a row and is nominated again this year. Not only that but he's won more KarateForums.com awards than anyone else. That's one small example, but it's safe to say that Bob thinks highly of this community and the members of this community think highly of him. He's a rock in this community, a voice that is respected, and above all else, a kind man who treats people with respect.
I feel grateful to know Bob and for Bob's presence in our community as a member and as a staff member for these last 10 years. Bob, thank you for all of your amazing contributions. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, for creating space for and making so many people feel included. Thank you for your efforts as a member of our staff, both as a senpai and a sensei, and personally, thank you for your kindness, friendship, and support. It means a lot to me.
Anyone else, if you're listening, I would love for you to check out the thread in our announcements forum that covers Bob's milestone and add your thoughts to it. Thank you for listening, and bye for now.
[00:12:47] [END OF AUDIO]