“My given name means wide heart. I think that’s commonly how I’m seen, and more than anything it’s how I’d like to continue being seen as.”
– Sifu Moonfist
Sifu Moonfist, better known as just Moonfist, has gained celebrity status in Sooke in recent weeks.
Moonfist has been tidying the community for years and has asked nothing in return.
First, he received a $500 honorarium from Sooke and last week was presented with a ceremonial cape at Stick in the Mud Coffee House for all of his efforts towards keeping Sooke clean.
But who is Moonfist and how did he end up in Sooke?
Moonfist grew up in Ottawa, the son of Patrick and Roma Colbert.
He got his name while practicing kung fu at the top of a cliff by Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
“On the top of that cliff I was punching as the harvest moon was rising, and when my hand would finish it was right in the heart of the harvest moon,” he said. “And I heard a whisper, but I couldn’t make it out. Again, a whisper, but I still couldn’t make it out. And the third time I heard “Moonfist!”, no one was around, but I guess I just kept hearing myself internally, and when it came out it was like a “wow” moment. My name has been that ever since.”
At the beginning of Moonfist’s working life, he started in the restaurant industry and worked as a sous-chef. Following that, he began working as a driver delivering computers around the city.
At this job he quickly found his love for technology and was promoted within the company. He was trained for his new position and shortly after began teaching people how to use program called Stacker.
“They sat me down in front of a chalk board and taught me about computers. And I quickly became a person that people would contact to help them with storage problems. This was the point when I realized I was so technical.”
Following on the path of working with technology, Moonfist started working in management with Bell Media, where he worked on a project that helped improve Alberta’s medical, dental and pharmaceutical network.
In his mid 30s and working his dream job, Moonfist began noticing some unusual changes in himself. He started to get confused and forgetful, especially while driving.
Moonfist was diagnosed with late onset epilepsy, and by 2005-2006 underwent three brain surgeries, leaving him unable to continue working with Bell.
“I loved that job. I did it with every ounce of me,” said Moonfist. “I would probably still be doing that. But I don’t miss it.”
In 2007 after he retired, Moonfist and his wife Margret Jackson-Hughes decided to move to Sooke.
David Evans, owner of Stick in the Mud Coffee House, said Moonfist is their go-to person whenever they having a computer issue at the coffee shop.
“He started coming in the Stick very shortly after we opened, and he was always doing wonderful things like teaching kids how to box or teaching them martial arts for free. People see him on the street and they might make a judgment about who he is or where he came from, but he really has a diverse past and is quite an interesting fella,” said Evans.
“He’s completely selfless, and eternally patient.”
Shortly after living here, Moonfist said he would walk around and often find nails along the roads, along with tons of litter. Seeing this upset him, so one day he gathered up a bunch of trash and nails from the streets, carried it over to the Sooke News Mirror and laid it out.
He began to holler at the top of his lungs while banging his broom on the ground. Then suddenly he stopped, walked away, and started sweeping the streets; he has been doing it every day since.
Moonfist has been beautifying Sooke for years now, and said he plans to keep doing it until he is no longer able to. His good deeds have not gone unnoticed, as he has become a great role model within the community, and started a domino effect of volunteers making efforts to keep Sooke clean.