Dear Hugh

Don AlleyAll, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

Dear Hugh,

I miss you, sir. I think about you randomly, and always tear up and smile when I do. You were such a wonderful human being, and I feel so honored that I could call you an instructor, a brother, and a friend.

There’s a barista at the Starbucks in my shopping center, and his name is Hugh as well, and I like it when I see him because it makes me think of you. Don’t worry, you were way more quirky than he is… no one could steal that from you, sir.

Before I moved to Ashburn, from age 15 to 30, I saw you practically every day of my life. It never occurred to me that one day, way too soon, I wouldn’t see you anymore.

We taught together, we fought together, we trained thousands of students together. We ran Team Impact, and we ran Super Kicks. You were my right-hand man, and I could always count on you. Even when I hired new team members, some of them would stay, some of them would go. But you… you were always a constant.

When I moved up north, we didn’t speak nearly as often, but we didn’t have to. You were there. I was here. And we were both a phone call away. And when we did connect on the phone or in person, it was as if no time had passed. We picked right back up where we left off, always excited and pleased to be around each other.

And then today, I was thinking, it’s almost been a year, hasn’t it? A whole year without you. It feels so strange when I think about you not being around. I loved chatting with you randomly and reminiscing.  Any time at the Hall of Fame banquet, or sitting at a bar enjoying downtime, I think we both relished in telling old stories on each other.

Like the time I broke your ribs with that jump spinning back kick. Classic. “What’s that sir? It was just a back kick? And they only cracked a little? I distinctly remember spinning and jumping. And breaking.”

Oh, Hugh- Remember the time you tore your ACL in that demo, and then I took the recording of it and created a loop of the exact moment that it tore, so you could watch yourself in agony thirteen times in a row??? That was awesome! Huh-men-uh huh-ma-nuh-huh-ma-nuh. “What’s that sir? How do you spell that?”

And remember when I used to always give you the hardest board to break in our demos, and you could never break them, and I always had to rescue you?? That might have been borderline mean on my part. I was young, sorry sir.  But it sure was funny watching you struggle. “Say again? You’re going to do what, sir? Break me into tiny pieces? Oh, like you broke all those boards?”

Wonderful memories 🙂

And now, there are times when I reach for my phone to call you or text you to say hi or share a funny memory, and I remember. I remember that I can’t. And it breaks my heart.

I remember where I was when I got the news that you had passed away. I was in a hotel at a business seminar, and Master Arthur called me. When I got off the phone, I found an empty ballroom and I wept. I lost one of my longest, truest friends. I love you, sir. I have so many wonderful memories with you and of you. I’m so sad you aren’t here anymore, but you left an incredible legacy behind you, one that I intend to share with as many people as possible. You’ll be pleased to know that I’m happy, healthy, and terrific, and I try to inspire those around me to be the same. You are one of the greats, sir, and I’m so grateful to have known you.


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