The catalyst for Fight for Life was the plight of one of the instructors from Idokan Australia, Wendy Carroll. Who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and was told to get her affairs in order. Wendy was not one to give up easily. She underwent aggressive chemotherapy and had radical surgery. In 2009 Wendy undertook a lifelong dream and participated in an Elite Jujutsu seminar held at the Butokuden in Kyoto, Japan. The seminar was hosted by the prestigious Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (DNBK). At the conclusion of the 10 day seminar Wendy was presented with an award from DNBK for her courageous efforts at the seminar. The seminar was not for the feint hearted as there was extreme heat and humidity while learning four different styles of Jujutsu. The seminar had attendees from all over the world with many succumbing to heat exhaustion and fatigue.
The first Fight for Life
In January 2010 Wendy was admitted to hospital and was not expected to live very long. That was when Kevin Walsh decided to create the “biggest seminar ever” to help raise the spirit of his dear friend. Thus Fight for Life was born. Kevin contacted Wendy’s friends from around the world and they came to support her.
The 2010 seminar was a huge success with about 250 people attending over the weekend. Defying the odds Wendy attended and taught at the seminar.
Wendy spent Christmas of 2011 in hospital. The cancer had once more reared its ugly head. So, Kevin decided it was time to have a second seminar to help spark his friend. This time he would spread the seminar worldwide. Kevin contacted his friends across the globe and the response was overwhelming. As a result in 2012 there were Fight for Life seminars in:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Sadly Wendy did not make it to the seminar she died on 7th August 2012 at 2pm.
Hanshi Hamada’s tribute to Wendy
Hanshi Hamada, Vice President of DNBK (Kyoto, Japan) paid tribute to Wendy in the following letter:
“Wendy was one of the most courageous Budo trainees in DNBK International Division who showed great skills and spirit in Jujutsu. She participated excellently in many DNBK sanctioned events and it was noteworthy to mention that she showed her gutsy courageous effort by overcoming her dire physical limitations in the elite Budo Jujutsu seminar held in Kyoto 2009 despite the hardship she had due to her intensive cancer treatment. She was also to partake in the last WBS in Kyoto, but had to withdraw due to her imminent condition.
She never surrendered to the illness and fought gallantly to the end.
DNBK considers her as one of the best elite members who demonstrated consistently the great fortitude and courage of Samurai tradition. Thus, we shall acknowledge her posthumously the title of Kyoshi honour and Shihan in Jujutsu and she shall be enthroned in the DNBK ID Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
We pray her spirit rests peacefully in heaven and watch over us those living who are still blessed in the struggle and joy in life.”
Vice President, DNBK
Chair, DNBK ID