At the Southwest Community Center, Saturday, Oct. 23, were family and friends of Vinson Grace, gathered together to remember and celebrate his life-long achieved accomplishments. The tribute began with a prayer by Min. Mark Muhammad, after which, Keith and Brenda Muhammad welcomed family, students, colleagues neighbors and all-around friends.
Through the martial arts, Sensei Grace made an impact in his community and enriched the lives of children and adults alike. This was evident by the laughter and participation from those in attendance. It is clear that Sensei Grace was a man who enjoyed life and spread that joy to everyone he came in contact with. His brother, Omanii Abdullah-Grace, shared memories and described the depth of their connection towards the end of Sensei Grace’s life.
Students of Sensei Grace displayed strength and discipline during their Kata demonstrations. Shihan El-Java Abdul-Qadir, said that “a Kata is an expression of moves and spirit. It’s more than kicks and punches.”
Indeed more than kicks and punches; colleague Sensei James Coker performed a Sword Kata, demonstrating the discipline and concentration of Japanese swordsmanship.
Robert McGriff, 29, studied under Sensei Grace for 10 years and said, “He [Sensei Grace] taught you to know yourself, right from wrong and to carry ourselves as ladies and gentleman at all times. He was like a father figure … teacher. For people like myself who couldn’t afford to go to karate, he still made a way for us to come here. You never stress material success because he was richness in his soul and his heart.”
The evening was filled with reflection, storytelling, demonstrations and even conculded with a ‘call to action’: the urging for each person to do what they can to make a difference in their respective communities.