This weekend, I had gotten the message that a fellow aikidoka from New York was shot and killed. He was in a restaurant when he was fired upon. The latest news is that a teen who had lived in the same building as he has already turned himself in.
Malik was someone whom I looked forward to seeing when I could. He came to my dojo by bus when he was practicing for his shodan test a while back. I enjoyed seeing him at the aikido camps, and always enjoyed his banter. He had a great sense of humor, a great sense of modesty and gentleness in his personality.
The last time I saw him was at misogi— we had paired up to encourage each other to chant. His young son, who often came with him to practices, helped out with ringing the bell. After the ritual, we had talked about drumming. He did West African drumming, and I told him of my brief experiences with Japanese taiko. We had joked that we both had to resist striking each other as hard as we did on drums.
Today, I got another message, this time from Cerdhenn in Belgium. Maybue and Faighnee were brutally beaten, kicked, and stabbed by a bunch of gay-hating guys in a park; the women are now in the hospital, and Maybue is in critical condition, due to complications with epileptic seizures. [Update: Maybue is still in the hospital, but doing fine. Faighnee is still under watch.]
If you read Lila’s blog, you know that Maybue and Faighnee are very much in love with each other and are planning to get married. They’ve met up with some resistance from their family about their relationship. The guys who assaulted them had done so previously, and had started by shouting homophobic epithets after watching them kiss.
I’m at a loss for words about what happened in these events. I thought back to Lilly’s post about training in aikido in defense against knives and guns, and my rather naive response to it. Yes, we do train in these, but I hope to never be in a situation where I have to defend myself against weapons. I wish for my friends to never have to be in this situation either. But what can be done after the fact?
I just erased a half-baked political rant– I’m not ready to do a full-blown analysis just yet. I’m just saddened by these recent events, and all I’m able to do right now is to keep my friends and their families in my thoughts and wish them well.