With a deeply sadden heart I regret to inform you that one of my Masters’ Master John Dube has recently passed away. I received the telephone call yesterday notifying us that Master Dube lost his battle against his health issues which he has been dealing with for several years. Mainly the past 2 years or so have been the worst. He was always a fighter and never gave up but this time he lost the fight. He’s finally at rest reunited with his late wife and daughter. Survived by his sons, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. It rained here for a bit yesterday and I now know why. It was god crying as Master Dube was probably up there training and sparring with god and kick his butt! LOL 🙂
I will admit that it was pretty hard to teach three Taekwondo classes and a fitness kickboxing class after hearing the news of his passing. Some of you may have noticed I was quieter than normal. I do apologize. I just needed some time with my thoughts. See it would be easy for one to remember how Master Dube spent his past few years and how he passed by I would rather remember him for how he lived. He was a great Master of Taekwondo but an even greater teacher of life! He stood a man who has lived a difficult life from time to time but never once did he let that get him down. He always had a smile on his face and he faced every challenge with the bravest of hearts and a clear sharp intelligent mind. He thought with his mind but listened to his heart. He was a gentle man yet very strong and powerful. He knew you needed a balance and was a living example of that. He always took care of his family before he ever took care of himself. He had wisdom like no other person I have ever knew. He was a great technician of martial arts and a greater teacher. He had knowledge that many masters combined wish they had.
I remember the first time I met Master Dube. It was late February 2004 at the Ontario Open Martial Arts Provincial Championships in Hamilton Ontario Canada. I was just standing around in the crowd waiting for my division to come up so I could compete. He saw my uniform said Cobourg and he came right over to me and asked if I was from Cobourg and he said he knew people from there. Later that day I got the privilege to judge some pattern divisions with him. I sat down beside him and notice he had no stripes(degrees) on his black belt. I asked him if he was a black belt and he said no I am a 7th degree black belt. He said this very kindly. He so could have chewed me out like some other masters I know probably would have. I also got to compete against him in the adult black belt korean forms where I got 4th place. I believe he won higher up than me. The last time I saw Master Dube he told me a story about this particular tournament. He said that I had gone up for one of my events and I guess some of the others said “Oh what can this little guy do/!” Master Dube said “You keep watching him, he’ll surprise you some day.” He was the first person to believe in me as a competitor.
I have been lucky enough to have been a several tournaments with him since that day both competing against each other as well as judging along side each other. We even have had to judge each other. Always being unbiased and strictly fair judging. Some times we sucked and lost and other times we rocked and won. I remember the last tournament he ever competed in. It was at the Battle of Warriors International Taekwondo Championships held in Georgetown Ontario. This tournament brought in competitors from across Canada, United States, and United Kingdom. Master Dube was in his late 60’s and his health problems just started to get worst. He was competing in the Korean Black Belt Forms division against competitors 20 plus years younger than him and he won!! He had superior technique, balance, and execution. What a way to retire for the second time. Yes I said for a second time. Master Dube once retired from active competition many years ago after winning the Canadian Nationals. His Master told him to retire and focus on teaching. So he listened. After the passing of his Master he returned to active competition in his fifties and continued to dominate. He traveled all across Canada, United States, and Europe. Winning 100’s of championships and seeing the world with his wife. That’s how he wanted to live his life and he did it!!!
I have been lucky enough to know Master Dube for a short eight years but that time is invaluable to me. He has taught me some invaluable lessons and I’ll carry on his teachings and legacy to my students. Some lessons will be taught to the massive while others lessons will be taught only to a few. Keeping with tradition of the martial arts and teachings of it. Certain lessons may only be passed down from one generation to the next to a handful. Master Dube knew stuff that a person with true integrity and self control should only know. I always hated it when he told me to hit or attack him as I knew I would be in a lot of pain. But I always did what I was told as I knew the lessons would be value. I have also come to know that if you do not do what a master says the outcome won’t be as nice as what was asked of you. One must do exactly what one is told so that the teachings can be done properly otherwise you aren’t learning what you new to learn. Even at a supposedly elderly age Master Dube was not a person to be messed with. I or anyone else I knew knows better than to challenge him to a fight or sparring match. He knew some scary things showing true power comes from knowledge and wisdom and not of sheer physical strength.
Every time I ever had the pleasure to meet with Master Dube he always taught me many of lessons both in Taekwondo and in life. Most of the time the lessons were not so obvious at the time. Others were immediately empowering the moment he taught them. I carry the lessons he taught me inside. Never to forget them. I use some of them with me students. I will be more aware now to pass along more of his knowledge. It was his knowledge that eventually help me become a world champion. He told me about 5 years ago that I was going to be a future world champion. First person to believe in my dream of winning an ISKA World Title Belt. I am very glad I got the chance to show him the belt in person. You could tell how proud he was of me and that belt. He never would take any credit for helping me win. He said that it was all me. He said I may have open the door for you but it was up to you to walk through it. He said the only thing he will take credit for is taking my fear away. That he did!
There is so much I can write about Master Dube but I would be here for many months writing it all down. I have written a few other blogs about him over the past few years. Search for them and read them. Remember who he was so he is truly never gone. He was the only Master that I had to call Master. I could not bring myself to call him John. He never asked to be called Master but I had that much respect for the legend and the man he was. If you ever met him you were blessed. If you never got the chance to than you truly missed out. I’ll do my best to cary on his teachings and his legacy. I am sure you’ll hear me talk about him a bunch more. Probably not right now as it still saddens me but soon.
Rest In Peace Master John Dube
Master Jonathan Field