Ronan Golby was the first person I met at West Coast BJJ. He welcomed me kindly into the club where I chose to rekindle my love for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu after more than a year off. And now, about 9 months in, I learned that this fit young man of 19 years age, a martial artist, passed away in his sleep for no apparent cause, with no prior warning, on Thursday, December 4. Still mostly in shock, we all met at the gym at 5 for a hastily planned memorial, and shared our thoughts on our life with him. It was a unanimous outpouring of love and affection towards him the likes I have rarely seen about anyone. And for good reason.
I am the new guy at the club. I had only known Ronan for less than a year. Many at the club had known Ronan and trained with him since he joined the club 10 years ago. The first time I walked the club he made me feel welcome immediately. He was known to everyone there as a sincere and kind hearted person, who always said hello warmly to everyone who arrived to train, said goodbye warmly to each person as they left. He had a warmth and openness that was readily apparent to everyone who met him. Everyone at the memorial agreed to this.
One of Ronan’s jobs at the club was as instructor to the children’s class for martial arts. Myself, being old and stiff, I have always made it my business wherever possible to show up early and stretch before class. Often I watched Ronan in his role leading the students before class started, where he instilled the noble traits of a martial artist in a pack of little ones who can hardly stand still. He did it with kindness and care to each student at every moment of the class, and always managed to win them over to what needed to be done. Many at the memorial also remarked how naturally talented he was at training the children.
I didn’t say much at the memorial. I listened to the people who had known him for 10 years or more say the same things about him that I could have said, while having known him for only such a short time. Ronan Golby was such a genuinely kind and caring person, who was so natural in his demeanour this way. Ronan impressed with his positive attitude every day. I remember thinking how I used to have some of those qualities of character as Ronan shared with the rest of us. I thought to myself how he had such qualities better than I have seen in myself for a very long time. It made me wonder where those qualities had gone.
Ronan Golby was this genuinely kind hearted person, to a rare degree among people, who loved martial arts, who loved life, by all accounts was a person who shared his happiness with everyone who came it contact with him. We are devastated by his sudden and unexplained passing. He was a young man in the physical prime of his life, with his whole life ahead of him, and then suddenly, he is gone. That such a good human being leaves us so soon bewilders all of us that much more. Osu.