By Tamas Mondovics
During a recent ceremony that acknowledged his latest promotion as one of the highest ranking Judo instructors in the country and long-time service to his class and the local community, Florida School of Judo instructor Professor Ed Maley, was honored, celebrated, praised and applauded, by students, fellow instructors and Judo fans last month.
In the presence of dozens gathered inside the room normally used to conduct his weekly classes at the Campo Family YMCA, Shihon Maley, 84, was recognized and ceremonially received his Judo rank of Kudan Ninth Degree Black Belt.
While displaying the highest respect, honor and humility, Maley’s son Keith, a Sixth Degree Black Belt Class A Instructor and National Coach, personally presented the belt to his father.
“By all of you being here shows your love for me and I appreciate it,” Maley said. “Many of you have been there for me over the years and helped promote this sport, the second most popular sport in the world next to soccer.”
After thanking the Campo Y for their continued support of hosting the classes, Maley called on his fellow instructors, some who have known him for just a few years and others that have had the privilege of learning from their teacher for decades, to say a few words about their experience and appreciation for the sport.
Without hesitation, one by one the students thanked their Shihon for his hard work, dedication, and love for the sport, the community and his class.
Expressions like compassion, integrity, devotion, family, coupled with father figure, was heard repeatedly as members of the class reflected on their relationship with Maley during his 66 years of teaching.
“I have spent the best 20 years of my life training and learning the sport under Professor Maley,” said Eric Gonzales, adding, “I appreciate every minute of it.”
Taking his turn to say a few words about Maley’s influence and devotion to his students and class, Instructor Langford Covington (3rd Degree Black Belt) shared his thoughts when he said, “You will not find this kind of commitment, love and teaching of Judo anywhere. We are blessed to have him.”
Speaking of blessings, Maley’s son, Keith, proudly spoke of his father’s achievements and relationship with all those whose lives he had touched over the years.
“He is a great man and I am blessed,” Keith said just moments after he presented his father with the new belt.
Keith’s words echoed in the sentiments of his father’s longtime friend, Frank Costa, who have known Maley, for more than 50 years.
“It’s an honor to have known you,” Costa said reflecting on his long friendship with Maley and the sport in the community. “If it wasn’t for you none of this would have been be possible.”
For more information about the Florida School of Judo, visit floridaschoolofjudo.net.