Kurt Ottesen's super-hero lost his powers for good last month.
The 38-year-old taekwondo martial artist, instructor and entrepreneur is mourning the death of his 72-year-old father Orville Ottesen, who lost his battle with Wegener's Vasculitis, Aug. 7.
"It's so tough because your father is your role model," said Ottesen. "When you're a little boy your father is your hero. He is Superman when you're a little kid. He teaches you to ride a bike, to throw a baseball and he teaches you when you skin your knee not to cry. He taught me to drive and he was there when I was dating. All of the rough spots in my life my father's been there."
The elder Ottesen was a role model to many in Prince George where he called home since moving from New Westminster in 1969 to teach industrial education arts at Prince George secondary school until retiring in 2004.
"He's been responsible for helping a lot of students and a lot of people out," said Ottesen. "When he was in the martial arts he fulfilled the same role. When he passed, really an icon in the community faded."
Despite not taking up taekwondo until he was 61 years old Orville Ottesen was scheduled to test for his fourth-degree black belt next week. A fourth-degree belt qualifies the recipient as an instructor.
Ottesen said it was a unique situation when his dad came to him one day and asked to become one of his son's students in the traditional martial art form. For one thing, it created a running joke between father and son about who would call whom Sir. In taekwondo, it is considered respectful to address a person at a higher level as Sir, but it is also the etiquette of the martial art to address a person as Sir if they are in a higher social or family position or are an elder.
"The hardest thing I've ever done is teach my father because you suddenly realize this role model, this super hero you have, isn't completely 100 per cent perfect," said Ottesen. "I struggled in seeing that my father would have difficulty with certain things. It would take him a little while to learn things. So I could put myself in his position and realize the frustration he had in teaching me when he knew I could do something but I wasn't having such an easy time of it."
He may have witnessed his dad's fallibility in the gym, but, Ottesen said it was still a shock when his hero died, despite the fact Orville had been ill and in and out of the Vancouver hospital numerous times in the last two and a half years.
"When my dad first got sick it came completely out of the blue," said Ottesen. "He had been completely fine and had had a great bill of health when he'd [last] seen the doctors. He got stricken down by a disease that hit him very hard and fast. We were very fortunate in the last two years because we got an extra two years with our father that you never expected.
"However, knowing he was sick and seeing the progression of the upturns and the downturns you're not ready for your father to pass," he added.
It's especially difficult for Ottesen's older sister Theresa Hick, who called herself a "Daddy's Girl" to deal with the loss of her dad, but Ottesen eased some of his sister's pain when he presented her with a precious gift.
"It was hard for me to come back to the gym," said Hick, a first-degree black belt. "I was presented with my dad's black belt. I'd had my own - I had achieved it - but after I started coming back, my brother gave me my dad's black belt and, I guess, his second and his third are waiting for me. I have some big shoes to fill I guess."
Ottesen said in taekwondo being presented with another artist's belt is considered the greatest compliment.
"We consider our belt to be our best friend - it's there through all the hard times, the blood, the sweat, the tears - it pushes as much as you do," said Ottesen. "It was the greatest compliment and the greatest honour I could pay both my father and my sister to see that his trials and his experiences where handed down to his daughter."