Skip to main content

Green Dragon

The boy is like a buoy in a sea of white foam. Standing still amidst his Karate Kid classmates’ vigorous activity makes him standout. The nothingness state is further juxtaposed by his tan skin tone surrounded by the crème colored skin of his fellow students. Recognizing his need, I release my common coaching tendency to catalyze action in the inactive. Equally, it feels incongruent to leave him alone in that turbulent ocean. What comes up from my sea bottom is like the creative energy and power of a green dragon. Hence, I step into those white waves and come out with the beautiful brown boy in my arms. We sit in a chair, with the buoy boy in my lap and facing our boys. He weeps and we keep the class from going down the deep.
Mike Cermak was born Bogota and brown. He was adopted when a baby. His adoptive family is white, affluent, Jewish and his three older sisters were born to his adoptive parents. I met him when he was about eight years old, as my Karate student at the Newton Jewish Community Center. Mike did not standout at Martial Arts. However, he connected to Karate in a way that I and other teacher-destined students know at our core. He was at the onset of finding his way of life. Hence, it was of no surprise to me that he showed up at my door here about a dozen years ago. It was also about a dozen years after I had last seen him. He was a recent B.U. graduate in Marine Biology and had suffered the loss of his adoptive dad a few years prior. Mister Mike was back in the Martial Arts with my posse and me.
Our initial “chairmen” connection caused a change in confidence in me. I connected to the core that I could parent my future adoptive children with quality. And maybe our bonding catalyzed the teacher in Mike. In any case, at the point in time of rejoining, I was an adoptive parent of three, fully immersed in running our school and close to attaining the label of Master Roger. Mike was enrolled at B.C. in Sociology and was dabbling in teaching Karate Kids in various locations. We were growing as if on steroids, yet were further bonded by our commitment to living organically as a vital component of the holistic nature of our Martial Arts way of life. Mr. Cermak eventually became Dr. Cermak. I often refer to him as DMC. Along the way at B. C., he spearheaded organic gardens and a Real Food Club at that college. DMC also developed outreach programs in environmental justice, guerilla gardening and action media. He has even taken a few of his inner city high school students to China twice for cross-cultural and Martial Arts experiences. I got to witness his documentary on that last year. I feel proud as a papa with his outer world accomplishments as well as his inner world journey.
In a quality relationship, there are many cycles of active and passive synthesizing in creative ways. Hence, when I needed Mike to step in to help in my life, he did just that. At a crisis point, he did the dada duty for my 10, 12 & 14 year olds, while I negotiated that crossroads. He especially bonded with my son, Cory, who was also born Bogota and brown. That Bogota-born and brown bonding has been vital in our spiritual journey since Cory passed four years ago. Mike stepped up to speak powerfully at Cory’s funeral and again in writing the forward to my book “Life, Death & Life with my Son” (available @ DMC also helped me with my “Master Roger & and Karate Kids” book. Yesterday, he came down here from the mountainous task of opening his own school with his partner, Alejandra, in Lowell (see The tiger was weary, and needed the dragon’s lap again. So we walked and talked along the beach and munched on some lunch with punch. Spirits raised, we go onto another day.