We were saddened already by the loss of our student Emily, but then we got the devastating news that Megan Shenon, mom to Grace (a first degree black belt) and Sadie (a green belt) Powers passed away this weekend. She was one of the spunkiest, most vivacious women we've known, and her untimely passing has come as a shock to the whole community.
Whenever Megan would stop by the studio she was ready with a smile and acted as a mom to many of Grace and Sadie's friends. Megan was one of our biggest fans, frequently telling us how much she liked being part of our taekwondo community. She had a great sense of humor, and over the years we saw her laugh watching her daughters in class, and cry when Grace got her black belt. Megan is survived by her husband Craig and her 2 daughters.
Megan's memorial will be held at St Philips Church (725 Diamond St @ Elizabeth St) Saturday, January 28 at noon. I need to double check if it is open to the larger community or just those affiliated with the church and school. If it is a private memorial, I will let you know when a public service is planned. Friends of the Powers family have set up a Go Fund Me page to help the family during this tragic time. If you would like to donate, please click the button below.
We are putting together boards for both Emily and Megan here at the school. If you have a memory that you'd like to share or a message of condolence for their families, please contribute. If you can't make it in person but would like to be part of this, please e-mail us and we will make sure your note makes it to the board.
As we mentioned in our post about Emily, it is so crucial during times such as these that we share our love with those close to us. Don't wait to tell someone how much they mean to you. Our time on this Earth is finite and it goes by so fast.
We love you Megan and we will miss you. Our hearts go out to Craig, Sadie, and Grace. Please know that we are all thinking of you and are here to support you now and in the future.
It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of one of our long-term students and a great friend, Ms Emily Ercanbrack. While her untimely death has left us all in shock, I have no doubt that Emily would not want us to grieve but rather to celebrate her spirit and the full life she led. She loved her wife, her cats, her friends and family, music, travel, and taekwondo (she earned the rank of 2nd degree black belt). She was a social activist and a friend to all.
I will always remember Emily for her inclusivity. When a new student would come to class, Emily would be the first to welcome them, immediately making them feel like old friends. When she couldn't make it to class, everyone would inquire where she was.
After taekwondo, Emily and her wife Marisa would always want to hang out and get dinner. I don't know how many times we shared a meal together and laughed the whole way through as Emily regaled us with an anecdote from her day. She would make sure our glasses stayed filled and would serve everyone before herself--an apt example of how she lived in all parts of her life.
When Emily came across a hurdle in her path, her indomitable spirit shone bright. I'll never forget when she broke her ankle and a week later came scooting into class, her bad ankle resting on the scooter while she figured out how to do taekwondo with only one leg. She even passed her red belt testing and competed at a tournament in that condition!
Emily is survived by her loving wife Marisa (a first degree black belt in our school). For those of you who are friends with her, she has asked that you post any condolences to her Facebook page as she is not feeling up to responding directly to friends right now.
I know that Emily touched the lives of so many of our students. If you have any memories you shared with her, we would love to hear them. Please post them in the comments section.
Through this sad event, we are reminded to show those around us how much they mean to us. Reconnect with an old friend, call your cousin who lives far away, give your family and pets an extra hug tonight. Tell your friends and family often that you love them as we never know when our time on this earth will be up.
Emily, while I know you have gone to a better place (and rejoined your Father and Vanity), the impact you made will not be forgotten and you will live on forever in the hearts of your many many friends. We love you.
A week before Christmas one of our black belt moms, Donna Boyer, was going to meet some friends for dinner when she was struck by a hit and run driver in the Mission. He was going approximately 25 miles per hour. The other people in the intersection were shocked (but managed to copy the man's license plate and call the police--he was later apprehended), and thought for sure that this petite lady was horrendously injured. What they didn't know, is that she is a real life ninja!
When Donna realized she couldn't jump out of the way in time, she did what we taught her and turned to the side so her vital organs were safe, and tucked into a ball as the car struck her hip. Despite being thrown by the car, we are pleased to tell you that Donna was able to get up and much to the surprise of the ER doctors, she is ok! She has the world's gnarliest bruise on her hip, but she is safe!
She texted us from the ER, thanking us profusely for teaching her skills that probably saved her life. We are so relieved that she is ok, and we are proud that she was able to use her falling and blocking skills without a moment's hesitation. Here is the way her hip looked about a week after the accident (she didn't let a little bruise keep her from going on vacation!)
And she's not the only member of her family for whom taekwondo has proven to be a life-saving skill set. Her teenage son Sam (who will be testing for his 3rd degree black belt in February), was playing with friends on the concrete bunkers in the Presidio last fall. They were playing tag as it was getting dark, and Sam ran right off the edge onto the concrete below. He told us later that in the air he actually thought "What would the Navarrete's want me to do?", rolling into a ball and standing right up again. He also only suffered a bruise to the hip where he landed, but gained some serious street cred as a ninja--the other kids he was with expected to see a gory scene below.
While we hope that no one is ever in a situation where they need to put into play the skills they learn here, we are overjoyed to know that what we teach really works. Over the years, we've had nearly a dozen students report back that they would have been seriously injured or killed in a fall or accident if they hadn't known how to fall. While it might seem tedious to practice tucking your chin and keeping your arms in while falling over and over again on the mat, it becomes worth it in a second when you can walk away from a serious incident rather than leaving the scene in an ambulance.
Is there an instance where taekwondo has helped you in a real-life situation? Please share your story with us in the comments section.