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Loss of a Friend

posted Sep 3, 2011, 4:39 PM by Eric Banks

I found out early this morning when I checked my email that a friend, a brother in the art, and a brother in Christ, passed away last night.  Tim Mann leaves behind a loving family, a dedicated wife and four strong boys.  He had been sick and undergoing treatment since late last summer.  I received weekly or bi-weekly updates of his progress and while things looked very positive for a while, I was saddened, but not surprised, to learn of his passing Monday night.  He is at rest now, healed and perfect and in the Presence of our Lord.


Tim was an instructor in Clinton, SC whom I met back in May 2006.  In February of that year, I heard about a spectacular karate summer camp that he was hosting and so some friends and I decided to go.  Well, schedules changed but when the camp was cancelled, Tim emailed me and suggested that I come to the seminar he was hosting instead.  He said that if I’d never trained with Avi Rokah, I needed to be there; he was right, and I had an amazing time.  Not only was the training excellent, but there was just a good feeling the entire time I was there.   I spent several days in the small, but very hospitable, town of Clinton; I trained, I worked on my book, I enjoyed some nature walks, and I chilled—great time.


I’m an intuitive people watcher, a person who observes not only what someone says and does, but also how and why they say and do what they do, and the thing that impressed me about Tim was his genuine good-natured-ness.  Remember, until about February or March of that year, I’d never even heard of him and he didn’t know me either, but from the moment I stepped into his dojo, I was a friend.   And I watched him closely, observing how others responded to him, and I remember how, a few days prior to the seminar, after we were done training, a couple boys came into the dojo selling something.  I don’t believe they were his students, but Tim spoke kindly to them and they called him “sir”; that courtesy may have been a southern thing, but I believe it was something more. 


I felt that “something more” feeling all through the week, especially on Saturday evening when everyone went to Tim’s for a cookout.  That was great.  The food was wonderful, his family treated us like family and welcomed us into their home with open arms.  We ate, we laughed, we ate, and yes, we laughed and we ate some more.  Even after the seminar ended and I returned home, Tim and I stayed in touch through his dojo’s monthly newsletter and by email and he always had an encouraging word for me, again, a person he had only met one time. 


Its funny how much you can learn from someone, about someone, about yourself, in just a few days…and it’s interesting how much of an impact you can have on someone in such a short time.  Imagine how much of a difference we can all make if we are intentional about it; let’s all be intentional.


I will miss Tim, and my heart and my prayers go out and up for his family’s comfort and strength. 


Oss, Sensei Tim, rest in peace with our Lord Christ.