A few weeks ago, many of the senior members of the Dojo joined Sensei in an evening of community. We convened to a local establishment for a few adult beverages. The time was spent discussing the dojo, life, major news headlines, politics, community, and friendship. Times like these allow us to build upon our mutual friendship outside the dojo. In the dojo, we challenge and help each other to grow in our martial arts skill. Outside the dojo, we challenge and help each other to grow in life. Our group of senior students leans on each other for support inside and outside the dojo. This group is always there for junior students to help them on their journey. This dojo is about community, helping those inside and outside of the dojo for mutual growth in all aspects of life.
Accordingly, during that evening a gentleman appeared and asked Sensei if he was Sukh Sandhu. Sensei replied yes with a hint of suspicion! This man went on to ask him if he remembered him. Sensei replied possibly. This man then announced to the group that Sensei had saved his life many years ago, in the mid 90s. The man told the story of how he was involved in an accident on the highway and his car was on fire late one evening. As others were driving by the accident watching the car on fire; Sensei saw the fire, recognized that no one was stopping and no emergency help had arrived on the scene. So, he stopped, got out of his car, ran over to the car ablaze, saw that a man was trapped inside and was going to die if he did not get him out. Sensei wrapped his hand with a towel from the trunk of his car and punched in the car window and pulled the man to safety. Once he pulled the man out the car, it burst into flames and engulfed the whole car. If Sensei had not stopped to rescue him at the moment that he did, this man would have died by being trapped in his burning car. The man said he had spent over a year looking for Sensei to thank him, and yet to no avail. He never got Sensei’s name or knew anything about him. Sensei saved the man as almost matter of fact, made sure everyone was OK and left. The survivor of the car fire stated many years later he learned who saved him and his father by searching for Sensei’s face/description and asking around.
Sensei‘s act saved this man’s life. Sensei did not make a big production out of the story. He thanked the man for his kind words. Once he left, everyone then began to ask Sensei about the scenario. Sensei was humble in his response, and basically said that he did what was necessary to help someone else survive danger, and that if he was in that situation that he hopes that someone would stop and help him. He also told us a story of another time on the highway when he witnessed a horrific accident and got out to help, when no one else would. He was not able to save that young womens life, in 2004/05. He stated he regrets that moment and makes his heart sad. Unfortunately the car accident she was in, was well beyond his control to help. He held some random person in his arms until she passed away. Sensei went on to say that “this is why training is so important, so that you can help those that can’t help themselves. You can help protect what is important”.
After this moment, we continue to banter back and forth with each other in our friendly manner. I think everyone had those stories playing in the back of their head. However, this story is another example of how we challenge ourselves and each other to be better every day. That environment is an outlet for us to discuss topics such as this story. This event made everyone better and enriched the time we spent together that evening. COMMUNITY starts in the dojo and flows in to our lives!