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Birthday Greetings!

from Grandmaster's son, Mike DeMaria, 7/7/07

My entire life has been molded based on your teachings, advice and guidance. Through the rough and the tough, things always manage because you and Mom were there, and I will never forget it, despite how stubborn I might be at some points. That's a son's job, after all...give you a hard time!

If I think about this from the beginning, the memories are endless. You've changed my diapers when I was a baby and you let me jump on your bed with my toys. You made home videos of every single event, from Christmas to birthdays to communions and graduations. You took me to work with you so I can see my 1st grade artwork hanging on your wall, and you even let me train in the adult Shao-lin classes when I was just 6 years old. You've shown your happiness for my successes, and you've lifted me up from my failures.

You've held my hand on my first roller coaster, and I can never forget our amazing summer trips to Action Park. From the action rides at Universal Studios to the chocolate tour at Hershey Park, I've had some of my best times with you at my side. You've even taken the daring challenge of teaching me how to drive every morning on the way to Chinese School.

Even today, at 22 years old, you still bring out that fatherly love as if I was 5 years old. You cook the delicious morning eggs that we eat, and of course one of our favorite dishes...spaghetti with white clam sauce for dinner!

Unlike many people out there, I've had the fortunate experience of knowing you from all angles. I've grown up around your passion of the Martial Arts, and therefore it has become my life through you, so much so that even your Master levels such as Maser Peck have been like uncles to me through the years. I'm so proud to admit my automatic bond with the arts, all because of you.

I remember you teaching Matt and me the double sticks in the front yard, and even using us as test dummies for certain techniques. I remember filming you and the other teacher levels performing forms at the previous schools. I even remember you smacking me in the back of head when I couldn't do a jump kick against the punching bag as a kid during class. I remember attending every single event at your side, and even others when you weren't there where I had the chance to represent your name. Funny how things stick, right?

I cherish every moment, even the bad ones. I can never stress how proud I am of you and all your accomplishments. It would be safe to say that your background and continuous efforts in the arts will never be anything less than legendary!

As I write this, I can't help to think about the million other memories that are going on in my head, but I choose not to write it for two reasons. One being that this is getting too long, and I'm sure you're getting bored of reading it, and two being that I'd rather keep the rest of my memories to myself.

All I want to say now is that we have many more years to come. They will be filled with happiness and challenges, but we will share them all together. As you know, many things are bound to happen soon, especially with my future, and I just hope that through it all, I can make you proud. Throughout my life, I've heard you referred to as Sifu and Grandmaster...but I have to honor and the privilege to call you Dad.

Happy Birthday Dad! I look forward to experiencing many more with you. I am very proud of you, and love you very much!

Thankfully,

Mike

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