Pacific JuJitsu Kai has created a scholarship in memory of Mike Hendy to assist other aspiring students to further their practice.
LESSONS FROM A JUJITSU TEACHER
By Hillary Kaplowitz, Sensei
They tell you that your teachers come from unexpected places. I have never felt that was more accurate as I reflect on the passing of my friend, student and teacher, Mike Hendy.
Mike joined the dojo before I was sensei. I remember teaching him and his stepson Guillermo their first day. As a junior brown belt instructor I was frustrated by students who came and went. Mike was one of my first successes. He and Guillermo stayed, worked hard and got their green belts.
After I took over the dojo, some people stayed and some people moved on. Mike stayed but attended less and less. I wasn’t sure if it was the new way of doing things, his busy life or just age that kept him away. I began to think of him as an ancillary member of the dojo. He was always there for the big events (and making me white belt level salsa for my birthday because his black belt salsa was too hot for me). But I didn’t think of him as a practicing jujitsuka because he didn’t really come to class and practice. But I was wrong.
Mike taught me an important lesson. Jujitsu was more important to him in his life than I knew. When I visited him a few months back he told me about how he uses Jujitsu everyday in dealing with his doctors and the hospital staff. How he teaches his family how to go around conflict in order to succeed. He told me that up until now its all been kata (practice) and now its randori (fighting). Mike understood that Jujitsu is more mental than physical and he knew how to apply the principles at their highest level. He truly exemplifies the spirit of Jujitsu.
Pacific JuJitsu Kai will sadly miss Mike Hendy for his example, wisdom and friendship through all these years.
A FRIEND TO ALL WHO CAME IN THE DOJO…
By Nathalie Chapple
A friend to all who came in to the dojo, and as someone who always had time for friendship is how i will remember Mike Hendy. He was an avid 50-something skateboarder. He preferred riding his bike everywhere instead of a car. He liked to make things (like key chains). He helped make the Shomen.
When i first met him in the dojo, he was a housepainter. He painted some of our houses (at least mine and Andrew’s front door?) but housepainting had taken a toll on his body so he learned a new trade – fine art framing and framed many of our keepsake art pieces and promotion certificates. He would take time to think about things – before he tried a new kata art or when he was explaining something to you (like how he was going to frame your certificate). He had high artistic taste. He is one of the few people i have known to whom i could honestly defer an artistic decision, and he was a really good artist! – did you ever go to his house and see the framed airbrush piece that he did in highschool/college? WOW. I must bow down!
Some folks may not know that he was a pretty good gardener and even though he and Conchita did not have a yard, he always had a 4’x4′ planter full of vegetables and sunflowers every year, and he gave of his harvest freely.
Another funny thing – that though yes, his body could not take as much of a beating (even before he got sick) as a young man’s, he mostly complained of sore ribs because his stepson Guillermo would pounce and wrestle him to the ground on a daily basis at home. He would laugh/cry and say that this is what kept him off the mat more than anything!
i remember his visits in the last year or so on Thursday nights, with his notebook open and taking notes. He was a part of the dojo in his own way.
He was the one who put up a flyer of his own design in a local cafe that lured at least this student into the dojo and who has stayed ever since.
You just don’t know how someone in class might touch your life, nor just how the class might touch theirs….
YOU CANNOT PRACTICE JUJITSU ALONE
By Ephraim Schwartz
You cannot practice jujitsu alone. It is a contact martial art. The people you find on the mat when you start down your path are the embodiment of that art. Mike Hendy was one of my gatekeepers; he was already a green belt when I showed up one January night many years ago, knowing what I would soon know; that the arts reveal your character. That no matter how you would like to be seen, the practice of Jujitsu will reveal who you are. That unless you are crazy you will be afraid. Mike Hendy absorbed my fear of injury by keeping a close eye out for my safety. His contagious enthusiasm kept me coming to class, and his patience and reassurance allayed my constant fear of failure. Mike was open and genuine; he was entirely there. It was his bravery that gave me the courage to reveal myself as each list presented a new challenge. An outsider may only see a bunch of people with different colored belts wearing judo gis. But these people share much more than friendship, they share their trust, they share their joints, bones, and pain, they share who they are. You do not just grab the lapel of a gi, you take hold of the fellow inside, whose commitment and dedication fill it to the seams. It is more than cloth in your hand. It is no mere anonymous wrist extended for you to take. The sensation of that wrist, the ratio of bone to skin will last you a lifetime. I bowed to my fellow jujitsuka many times and will bow to him forever. May you find Mike Hendy waiting for you on your mat. Aloha.