Yesterday I was challenged on a few diffierent levels with a new student. Apparently this man had previous experience with judo and aikido but had not practiced in some time. First thing, used to those styles and not karate, which is a bit "harder". Sensei sent me over to him to go through eight point blocking. So, we commenced. Went into horse with him facing me and began the blocks. He then sat in a horse stance that was too low (down on my level, which is low since I was much shorter than he was) and leaned too far forward. I said, "you don't have to sit that low" and he shrugged his shoulders and stayed there. So I stopped with the blocks and corrected the stance. All this time I'm getting a very defensive feeling from him, and was not sure if it was me or really him. Moving on. I faced him again and this time he was standing upright. I asked him to get back into horse stance and he said, "Why." Hmm. My response was, "this is how we train. We stand in horse stance when we do blocks to train the legs and to train our bodies to get used to a different way of moving." No comment, another shrug of the shoulders. Then I stood in front of him and we both faced the mirror. I tried to move off to the side so that he could see himself in the mirror, but every time I moved he just moved back behind me. I noticed that he was watching me while we went through the blocks, if only to see the blocks. When I mentioned that he should watch himself in the mirror his blocking became much smoother. He also had asked me some other question that I cannot remember right now, but I gave him an answer that surprised me. I remember feeling surprised at how easily I had answered his question. This was an incredible learning experience for me because I've been having difficulty speaking clearly when I'm instructing. It is far easier for me to show the movement than to explain the movement. When I get into explaining I often say too much, add too many things into the equation. This time I did not do that and I was definitely put on the defense with how he was taking my instruction. I'm glad for this experience because I'm sure it will not be the last time I will feel this way. Lessons come when you need them. I'm not sure what the defensive feeling was. Maybe because his reactions seemed a little lackadaisical and it bothered me. Or that could just be who he is. I was only with him for five minutes tops, but first impressions are made within the first seven seconds (or something like that) of meeting someone. With new students sensei will send over his upper belts one at a time to teach different things.
I'm going to cut into this post with something else. I just got off the phone with a client of mine who's husband (also a client of mine. Both of them very close to me) had a massive stroke three weeks ago. He passed last night at home with his family around him. This man was in his early 70's and still working carpentry (he had his own business), going at it like a madman. This man never stopped. Every time he came in for his massage I would get the biggest hug and kiss from him, a bear hug! Full of life and love. He would do anything for those close to him. Never a hateful word from his mouth. He was very true with who he was and how he lived his life. I'm filled with a profound sadness right now. Yet another lesson to learn is about death. This may not be the appropriate blog to put this in, but I think it just may be right. My path right now is all about being okay with who I am and where I am going. Death is a major player and I'm afraid of it. Who isn't? It's also about being honest with my feelings, sadness being one of them right now. I think that when you are in the moment in karate it's your truest self performing the moves because if it's not the moves just don't work. It's so obvious, at least to me, when someone is distracted and they are in class. I will miss this man very much, but this is also life. It's a big circle.