Saying Goodbye to Jill by Betty
Blue Belt Amy Finkbeiner said it so perfectly on a FB comment: "Buffalo, those long cold winters may be a thing of the past, cuz a million-watt ray of pure sunshine is coming your way to stay. We'll all miss you so much, ChungSaNim Jill Burdick!" ChungSaNim Jill left this weekend with her family and moved back to her hometown of Buffalo. I don't think her absence has hit many of us yet; it will soon though. The list is long - the morning students who take her class; ChungSaNim Brad (she was always there to help out with the Saturday morning kids); all the young kids especially; all the other students who could count on a huge smile, positive and infectious energy from her and of course, most of all, Sabumnim who's been her master for 17 and half years.
Speaking for myself, Jill was an unbelievable dojang sister and friend, as my daughter said, in 8 year old parlance, she was one of my "besties". She was and is still so inspirational to me. She looked like a delicate, feminine flower, but she was tough as nails. During a sparring competition, Jill was the only woman who signed up for it, and as always, she brought her big self and kicked some serious butt. Looking back at some old photos, I realized she was the partner for 3 guys at three separate Black Belt demos (when they needed a partner for the demo). When someone was needed, Jill was always there.
I'll never forget that Warrior Weekend upstate when we were 7 months pregnant learning chil techniques from Sabumnim or doing Han Su at a demo in Union Square with our babies strapped to our chest. These are just a few of the many great memories I have with her, but the overarching one is of her as an incredibly loving, giving, kind woman as well as a fierce warrior who never gives up (and also has a wickedly fun sense of humor). Even after having two kids, and holding a job that routinely took her out of town, Jill attended seminar after seminar, warrior weekend after warrior weekend, year in and year out, always, of course with a smile and the best Mudo spirit around.
It's been an honor and pleasure to spend such a big part of my life with Jill and I know many others feel the same way as I do. She, in typical Jill fashion, has already volunteered to host a Warrior Weekend in Buffalo and extended invitations to all the students to visit her. Her presence and contributions to WMAC will never be forgotten. Hopefully, she will come to visit us once a year (hint, hint Jill :)). If there's one thing I know for sure is that if we channel even just a bit of Jill, we would all, not only be better martial artists, but we'd probably be brightening and inspiring someone in our lives.