Yes I Can – Tribute Essay to Sensei Leonelli
By Gianna Gransasso
I certainly don’t regret my experiences because without them, I couldn’t imagine who or where I would be today. Life is an amazing gift to those who overcome great obstacles, and attitude is everything, Sasha Azevedo. As a thirteen year old girl you seem to have many people pulling you different ways, friends, family, and also teachers. The people you decide to surround yourself with, will leave an imprint in your heart, no matter good or bad for the rest of your life. After being picked up and thrown away by all the people who you thought were your friends, it’s hard to get back on your feet. One person whose lesson I will always keep with me is my Sensei. My Sensei taught me to believe in myself, and no I think twice before I use the terrible words “I can’t.”
It’s hard to think about this time last year, and not say to myself “wow that used to be me.” The only word you heard come out of my mouth was, “I can’t.” “I can’t do it, I can’t stand up for myself, I can’t go to school anymore.” There was no one day that you wouldn’t hear those terrible words said.
Last year was the toughest year I have had. I also learned that there is really no such thing as “best friends forever.” Last year I thought I had a great life. I had amazing parents, great friends, great teachers and I was doing wonderful in school. Until the middle of the year hit. This year was a year I would never forget. It was hard, but I got through it. The best part for everyone at school was always lunch, but for me it was one of the worst times of the day. The only reason why I hated lunch was because I sat alone. All my friends left me. To this day I never asked why. I always said to myself “I can’t ask them what I did wrong it will make things worse, I can’t switch my table I don’t know anyone else, and I’m a terrible person I just can’t do this.” As I sat there, all I heard was their sickening comments about me, but it wouldn’t end there. I got home, and all I would see on facebook is more and more stuff about me. Those girls did not just decrease all the self confidence, they made me miss school and they ruined my year. Thinking about this now gets me so agitated because I let them get to me. That year was also so important to me because it’s the year I met someone who I will never forget, Sensei.
After being knocked down, it was so hard to get back up again. In the process of making things better I came to a place called “Tiger Schulmann’s.” As time went on, I started going there and met Sensei, who is the teacher there. He has taught me so much more than self defense, he taught me to believe in myself. One day in class, I was having trouble with a move that we learned, well at least that’s what I thought. So I asked for help after going through the whole move my Sense then goes to tell me that I did the move perfectly, and that I just need to believe in “G” more. I never thought how much those words would stick with me.
This year it was different. I went from being the girl who never talked to someone totally different. My sensei has made me believe in myself so much that the first day of school was a breeze, and I was not scared at all. When the times came that I needed to defend myself, I thought of my Sensei telling me I can do it.
My quote again was I certainly don’t regret my experiences because without them, I couldn’t imagine who or where I would be today. Life is an amazing gift to those who overcome great obstacles, and attitude is everything, Sasha Azevedo. This quote explains a lot to me. I do not regret anything that happened to me last year, without it I wouldn’t have found the one thing I truly love, which is going to train with my Sensei. No matter where life takes me I will always have everything that he taught me with me so thank you so much Sense, for making me the stronger person I am today.