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Keji and Gideon

How We Met: Keji
Remembering how ‘Deon and I met is always funny. I was a 22 year old lady with an eager and optimistic mind. In a burst of optimism, I enrolled for a class on self defense – Karate. It was, for me, a mere adventure; to have fun and work out and sweat a little and have something really cool to boast about. 

My karate class was somewhere at Victoria island and on the first day I was pretty nervous. I walked into the gym in my pink on pink ensemble looking brand new among the flexible, shaped up focused looking karatekas. 

They were warming up when I walked in, so I stood afar off and just watched, fiddling with my gym bag strap. Someone with a brown belt beckoned to me and I approached. He asked me if I was joining them and I said yes. 

He said, ‘Fantastic, get in. We’re just warming up before our Sensei arrives’ 

And next thing, he started doing impossible things with his legs and hands and body. And everyone just followed him, like it was nothing. 

They were punching and kicking and doing push ups and jogging and doing press ups and stretching. It was incredible! 

While I tried to keep up, Sensei Gideon walked in. I actually held my breath when I saw him. Apart from the obvious fact that he’s really handsome, he had an air about him – I don’t know if I can explain it fully – that said: I am that guy that has got you. You’ll do excellently well, don’t worry! 

He was smiling as he dropped his bottle of water of the floor and clapped three times. The brown belter who was taking the class bowed and came to join the rest of us. 

Gideon looked each and everyone in the class in the eye while he smiled and then when his eyes met mine, he smiled a little and frowned a little before saying ‘I see we have a first timer here. What’s your name, my lady?’ 

That’s how we met. I’m so glad I decided to learn karate. I mean, how else would I have met him?? He really has no social life outside karate! 
How He Proposed: Gideon

Ah… Deciding to simply date a student is a huge thing. You have to be sure and doubly sure and then check that you’re indeed doubly sure before you do. 

As a karate instructor, I have had to work with a lot of female students who need an extra hand in learning the techniques and because of some occurrences in the past, I just decided never to get romantically involved with any of my students.

But with Keji, it was entirely different. From the first day I practiced with her, I knew that there was going to something special between us. A friendship, a relationship, a marriage? I wasn’t sure about the specifics; I was only sure that she was special and specially sent to my life. 

We have spent five years of our lives together; loving, quarreling, dueling, fist-combating…

It is so special when two karatekas comes together because you both would have to live with being fight partners and life partners. I can’t ‘allow’ you win a kumite (a fist duel) just because I love you. And I can’t be hitting you at home just because you allow me do that in the dojo. 

Asking Keji to marry me was a no-brainer. I love her and all that she is. She is now a black belter as well- a first black. And she and I legally own the karate school we run. She had joined me as a co-instructor for the kids at the school, while we were dating. And so one day after one of the training sessions, I sent everyone home quickly and when the last person had gone, I pulled Keji to the centre of our gym and asked her if she was down for a surprise. She said yes. 

I whistled and a massage team came in; with a violinist. I ran to turn off the lights that were not needed as they set her up. 

She was smiling all through and my heart was swelling. When she was pretty settled in the massage and I could see that the violin was soothing her as well, I began my speech. She was faced down so she couldn’t see me. 

Hey babe. Being the smart woman that you are, I’m sure you already know what this is. I’m about to take a leap of faith to ask if you’ll take a leap of faith with me in living life and finding happiness.

I hope you say yes because you are pretty good at taking leaps, and at kicking and at punching and at karate generally. It’s almost unbelievable when I think that I coached you to this stage. 

It is unbelievable because you have taught me more than I can possibly pay you for. For instance, I feel like a fool when I remember that I taught you how to fall safely when you take a hit, because now, you have taught me how to fall in love recklessly.

I may have taught you how to punch your opposition but you have shown me how to love those who confront me. 

I may have taught you how kick better than anyone else but you make me hope never to kick the bucket without you knowing I love you more than anyone else.

I may have taught you to refine your techniques time and time again, but you have persistently shown me that a woman more refined than the purest gold can love me. 

And I may have taught you to be alert and ready to fight at any time, but you caught me unawares such that I have fallen deep in love with you and I am not putting up any resistance. 
I love you Keji. And I’m eager to see how better things can possibly get with you in my life and with me in your life. 

The masseuse took her hands off Keji’s back and she lifted her head; face covered in happy tears. 

I went on zenku sudashi (a fighting stance) and asked her if she’ll marry me. She stood up, spread her feet apart shoulder width, clenched her fist fight-ready and said, ‘Oss Sensei’
(For those who are wondering, saying ‘Oss’ in Karate, is like saying ‘yes’ to a person you respect or who ranks higher than you belt-wise.)
I truly am blessed! 

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