Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tales of Tough Love from the Dojo

I *heart* my daughters’ karate teachers.

They are a husband and wife team – the dojo is perhaps a 10-minute drive from the house. The girls take karate on Tuesday and Thursday nights; S will be back at it on Monday and Wednesday as soon as he takes care of a couple of medical things, and I take kick-boxing on Monday and Wednesday night. We spend a lot of time at the dojo, and have gotten to know the directors (Senseis) very well. They both are in their mid-30’s and both are black belts: he a 6th degree; she a 2nd degree. They have about a dozen black belt students who help out with classes and techniques.

These people are so focused on the overall health (physical, emotional, school/grades, home and family) of their students that I just want to hug them both most days. It is like a big family there, with the more experienced students teaching and encouraging the less experienced students, a mandate to teach and learn each day, an unequivocal attention to discipline and respect and a focus on self-assurance. I wouldn’t call it “tough love” but rather “firm love”.

The Bug, who has ever been a sensitive old soul, walked into the dojo frightened of being yelled at and disciplined. Last night, she took 4 dozen falls, and got up each and every time. She performed her kata (a dance-like set of compulsory movements for each level) with strength and determination. She did 40 push-ups. On her knuckles. Her Sensei instructed her to teach her sister (Daisy Mae) the new kata, and instructed Daisy to accept her teaching with gratitude and humility. He routinely will send 7 and 8-year-old green belts (intermediate students) to “teach lessons” to teen-aged white belts who have shown too much attitude and not enough humility, as a reminder that toughness comes from the inside, and that our teachers can be found everywhere.

And Mrs Sensei kicks my butt twice a week in the mommy class.

This is a good thing.


bhd said...

Beautiful entry, love.

Lisse said...

I'm working on a post involving girls and karate - not that I have any personal experience, but it's more of a theory. It's so interesting that your's are already doing it.