By Imani Williams
FERNDALE – As the owner and founder of Mejishi Martial Arts, Jaye Spiro has dedicated her life to reaching and teaching people. She has been a martial arts sensi (teacher) for the past 25 years. Last weekend, former and current students, family and friends joined Spiro for a 25th anniversary celebration. Several well-wishers shared their personal stories as testimony to what they have learned from having Spiro as a Sensi.
Spiro’s mother, Terri Spiro and her brother Steven were present. Steven said of Spiro, “Other than one person in this room, I’ve known Jaye longer than anybody. That person is our mother.”
Steven spoke of his sister and shared, with conviction, that she has been his best friend his whole life. He spoke of fond memories of his sister as a little girl gathering the neighborhood kids in their basement where he said she was, “organizing place,” teaching little kids the songs and movements about the tortoise and the hare, inviting their parents and siblings to come and charging five-cents. He added that if they didn’t have the nickel his sister would let them in for free. Jaye has been his hero and leader.
Spiro’s students presented her with a hand-crafted piece of art that they commissioned her brother to create, a beautiful handcrafted paddle inscribed with their appreciation for her.
Says Spiro when asked to describe Mejishi Martial Arts,”Mejishi is a community of peaceful warriors representing a very diverse group of people. Warriors of differing sexual orientations, genders, races and ages. We all come together as a community seeking defense confidence and peace. This is 25 years of working towards this.”