One year ago, Sifu Mike Martello woke up and died of a congential heart defect. Teacher Mike had Wolff-Parkinson White Syndrome. On the morning of June 2nd, 2009, Mike Martello passed away suddenly in Belgium. He was 42, despite his young age, he had achieved the level of mastership of a Chinese master in his 60’s. As a martial arts genius, he was loved all over the world and travelled a lot to teach and to meet students and friends. Yet it was not only his profound knowledge that impressed the people who were fortunate enough to meet him. He was a generous man, with a heart for the people and the art. Both played a very important role in his life. From the start, Kung Fu was for him a way of selfdevelopment. Through giving and sharing from the heart, he connected himself with others and pointed us towards the meaning of passion – the beauty of life.
During training, he would make tea for us and after the intens lessons, he would cook or we would go out for dinner. Being a just man with a big heart, he talked a lot about the moral fabric of the individual. He believed firmly that with great power comes great responsibility. For the men he was tough, like a father who wanted his sons to be able to look after themselves and yet with a love only
fathers possess. For the women and the children he was a gentleman amongst gentlemen, his eyes changed from strict to protecting, caring, respecting and loving.
Just like Picasso, he was a large tree with a strong root bearing all kinds of different fruit. The strong root stands for his great personality as an individual, one who refused to follow the herd. Rather, it was in his blood to lead. The different types of fruit were a result of his hard work to fulfill his passion. And yet, everyone was welcomed to benefit from it.
His person, his work will never be forgotten. As in many places all over the world, people are remembering him and honouring him through the practise of Kung Fu, taking care of eachother, being all they can be.
RIP, my teacher and friend.
“Be all you can be, but don’t be me” – Sifu Mike