I thought I'd post an old pic of my husband Dale, who died in 2002. In this pic he was training with his friend Dan. Dale was a Shodan (first level black) but would soon do the grading for Nidan and pass the test, and then a few years later pass the grading for Sandan, or third level black belt. I remember his Sensei mentioning that perhaps the JKA would give him a fourth Dan posthumously, but that never happened.
Anyway, this karate event took place at someone's home, in their backyard. Almost all training took place in the dojo, but on this day they'd planned a training event and BBQ and wanted pics taken for the newspaper and for future advertising efforts.
If I remember correctly, it was at this party when I first started noticing that Dale was different than everyone else. Most of my readers know that Dale had become an alcoholic before his death but this was the year we'd planned our wedding and I was so much in love that the red flag was barely even noticeable.
At any rate, hours after this pic was taken, everyone else sat around visiting and having a beer, but Dale seemed to be drinking faster and getting drunk while everyone else had a social drink. Eventually I pulled him away to drive him home, and I remember asking him, "didn't you realize that no one else was getting drunk? It wasn't that type of gathering."
I remember feeling embarrassed for him, because he was their Sensei. Everyone at that party bowed to him (literally and figuratively), he was their leader. I remember feeling scared for myself because at the time, he saw nothing wrong with that kind of behaviour and it was so obvious that our hosts (who were college professors with an immaculate home and yard) had no idea how to handle the situation.
I guess that the signs were always there, even if I chose not to see them.