It is often believed that martial arts focus on kicking and punching and maybe even energy manipulation (Ki or Qi) along meridians. That’s true, but it really represents about one percent (1%) of what is really going on. Similarly, soccer, also known as association football in most of the world, is frequently thought to be a game featuring running and kicking. It does – no doubt of that. But really what soccer TEACHES is, as the English say, ‘do not let down the side’. That means showing up every day for practice and always working wholeheartedly. In the words of the illustrious Dennis Ball: “You are either good or you are no good. If you are good you have to practice well so you get better. If you are no good you have to practice more until you get good.” In The Lord of the Rings on page 83 at the very end of the Chapter ‘Three is Company’ Frodo Baggins, on the run from Black Riders, asks Gildor Inglorion, a High Elf, “But where shall I find courage?”  Gildor replies, “Courage is found in unlikely places.”  Really, deep down, martial arts is in the business of inspiring courage. That requires that the teacher be courageous and that accessible examples be highlighted so students can recognize courage when they see it displayed. There are certainly large-scale examples like the US Marines and Navy at Guadalcanal in 1942. That is definitely not to say that the Japanese Army, Navy and Marines lacked courage either. They were just as far from home, as poorly equipped and coping with the same jungle. Similarly, when the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe fought over the English Channel and London during the Battle of Britain there was exemplary courage displayed by both sides.

Much closer in time and space and in a much smaller scale there is a woman named Sylvia who is dying of cancer and just drove to the Food Bank’s Community Produce Program at Rio Vista School in Bay Point because she is now too frail to walk.

That is courage.

So I am going to ask the fine folks at Loaves and Fishes if they know who might be able to deliver food to Sylvia.