Introduction: Here is a sad story of the loss of a friendship. This is only my perspective. I have not pursued any answers from either party. I don't believe that is any one's business. So, what I am writing about is what I see as a third party looking in.
Mr. Rick I. and Mr. Steve Lavallee had been friends for many years. Rick I. was one of Mr. Lavallee's first Black Belts. He was also one of the most talented. Rick ended up working for Mr. Lavallee and eventually ran the Liverpool school. Rick I's brother was also working for Mr. Lavallee and he ran the Cicero school. They were like family.
At some point Rick I wanted to break off and run his own business. Something many people desire. He started with just a Gym. Eventually he started teaching Karate. Many people had asked him to do so. It was the only thing he knew and to ignore that business opportunity would not have made any sense.
Apparently Mr. Lavallee was not happy with this and the friendship ended. I don't know the details and if I did I wouldn't discuss it. The details of the "what" and "why" don't matter. The sadness is in the ending of a long friendship, a close friendship, at least it looked like that from my perspective.
No one but Mr. Lavallee and Mr. Rick I. can mend what was. For the rest of us, we need to realize it is between them. There is always two sides to any conflict - thus the saying: No matter how flat you make a pancake there is always two sides.
I hope that these two men can, someday, become friends again. It will only happen when one of them decides it is more important to be friends than to be the "winner". It is very sad since together they could achieve great things as friends. They don't need to be in business together they just need to be friends. As Mr. Jeff I's passing proves - life is too short to leave your friends behind for any reason.
My stories as I remember them during my journey in the Martial Arts