This Saturday I went to two karate classes: the early morning practice and the early afternoon stripe workshop. I won two stripes in the afternoon workshop. This is what I learned.
1. I learned that I am getting better at my self defense moves. My yellow stripe is basic punching self defense. My orange strip is four point SPARRING defense. Sparring is ABSOLUTELY my weakest skill in karate, so I find some solace in learning how to make some of the defense more automatic.
But what I really learned is that a student can come in all ages, and a teacher too. My instructor for the two belt stripes is a sophmore at High School. He has incredibly smooth and crisp karate moves, and more importantly, he is remarkable patient. I was in a group with three little children, one of them my own son, and I think the instructor found my presence a little intimidating at first. I noticed he was focussing quite a bit more on the little ones and kept giving me an easy off, even when my own moves were clumsy or undisciplined.
Several things distinguished me from the little learners:
1. I was more inclined to ask questions;
2. I learned the patterns quicker as they were explained orally;
3. I was there entirely on my own free will (my parents, while supportive, don't drive me to karate class anymore)
That being said, I was not necessarily the learner with the easiest time. I tired more quickly that the little learners did. I confused several different steps at times because my insistence of moving forward and my confidence. My overall stance was weak: I find horse stance a tiresome part of the whole karate learning and my knees rebel.
Over the hour long class, my instructor relaxed a little more and was starting to hold me accountable for what I could improve in. At the end of class, while he was putting on my two stripes, I let him know how much I appreciated his patience and clarity of instruction. I felt I had truly learned something to move me forward in karate and I wanted him to know this fact.
Is there anything in this story that resonates for you?