From Homma Sensei:
I would like to acknowledge and praise the group of 15 young Nepali soldiers led by Dan Gurung, WO2, for having successfully completed the summer training by paying their utmost attention to details up until the last minute by their high quality of work to leave no trace of dust in where they lived for 40 days.
I’m writing this letter at a table where I enjoyed dining together with all of you. Although it was very hot during the training, it’s been cooler as we are approaching the middle of September.
When we went to the Mount Evans (Elevation: 14,271 feet) for endurance training, as I watched you climb the mountain ridge as part of the training, I remembered running to climb along the same mountain ridge when I was much younger. I fondly remember the sense of accomplishment and fullness that emerged in me when I got to the summit, and I can still picture vividly the beautiful, panoramic scenery that opened up in front of me at the summit. I can never forget the whole experience.
As there was no way for me to keep up with your strong legs, I could only watch you run & climb up the mountain. There are things in life you can do only when you are young, and all of you have chosen the path of becoming a military person “to live in the present moment”. I felt jealous as I watched you climb the mountain for all that you have ahead of you in life!
Every one of your came from different sections within the Nepali Army to form a group of 15 trainees to undergo the training in a unique, different & special environment called a Dojo in the U.S., totally a foreign country to all of you, and the fact that all of you lived together and supported each other to endure and complete 18 hours a day of training for 40 straight days is itself quite meaningful, perhaps above and beyond of learning Aikido techniques. I felt assured that you will surely be playing integral roles in further strengthening the foundation of your home country of Nepal into the future.
However, a sad and disappointing event happened on the last day. As you were doing laundry and cleaning the Dojo before having the last lunch together at Nippon Kan, one soldier disappeared. The person’s belongings, including the passport, were left in a room. Security camera footages captured the person leaving the Dojo wearing a T-shirt, in a pair of sport trousers with a pair of slippers on. There may have been some help from outside, but it was probably his decision and his choice. What he has done must be a big disappointment for those who he left behind, while causing his 2-year old child, his wife and his other families much to worry.
No one knows his motive to have done what he has done, whether it was to lead a better life for his family who depends on him in an impoverished region or whether it was his alluring image of the U.S. that he may have developed through the lens of Social Networking Sites. At any rate, it’s a fact that he has caused much trouble for many people by his conduct.
I think you may be reading this message, too. No matter what struggles you will have to face in your home nation, keep in mind that it will be far easier than what you will be experiencing while living in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant. Before too long, your name and your photos will probably be posted by someone, even if I don’t do so… You cannot remain hidden forever…
If you have a desire to go back to your home country, I will make a relevant flight arrangement once again. Your visa to stay in the U.S. is still valid, and what this means is that you will still be able to leave the U.S. on your own without risking to be deported.
For the rest of the soldiers who have gone back to your home after having successfully completed the summer training, there is no reason at all for any of you to feel responsible for the choice the person has made. Keep in mind that nothing will change the value of the accomplishments you have achieved as a result of your determination, dedication and hard work.
You all poured the best out of you to finish the assignment that was bestowed upon you. You must be as proud of your accomplishments as you are exhausted. Please rest well to recharge and renew your physical and mental prowess to continue your service to your country.
Founder & Kancho, i.e. the Head, of Aikido Nippon Kan