Our office had a potluck lunch on Tuesday. I finally got to meet my new co-worker. He does the same job I do, only I work in the morning and he works in the afternoon. He was coming in early, I was staying late for the potluck.
While going through the line, another co-worker accidentally jostled me.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hit you,” she said.
“That’s OK,” I quipped back, “I’m used to getting hit.”
“I’m afraid to ask.”
“Karate,” I reminded my co-worker. I work on the campus of a community college and my hours are flexed so I can walk to College Dojo immediately after work to help out with the class.
The new guy asked what rank I am. I answered my usual, “Halfway to black belt,” which is far easier than explaining about kyus and colors and all that jazz.
“Is that full contact?” he asked.
“Light contact,” I replied, “But tell that to the white belts. I’ve got this big bruise on my wrist from a white belt. Two days ago, I was in a tournament, a black belt spanked me pretty good, and all I have is a tiny bruise on my lip. It makes me grateful for all those people who put up with me when I was a white belt and putting bruises on them.”
Turns out the new guy is a Shodan in Kyokushin Karate. Full contact. Bruises are nothing to him.
So we settled into a corner to talk about all sorts of what Jackie Bradbury would call nerdy Karate goodness. Eventually, he changed the subject.
“Any advice for me about the job?” my afternoon counterpart asked.
“There’s a lot of little details you have to know. Be patient with yourself as you learn. You’ll master them over time. But that’s nothing new to you.”
The new guy smiled, and replied, “Yeah, I don’t really have time to read the employee manual. I’ve just been relying on gaining experience.”
I affirmed, “You’ll learn through repetition. And that’s nothing new to you either.”
My counterpart smiled again. He was clearly making the connections between Karate and life.
I continued, “And don’t be afraid to ask for help.” I didn’t have to add that he knows this already 🙂