My grandfather told me when he was a young man he struggled with algebra. I don’t remember how many tried to teach him, but he just didn’t understand. It’s not that he wasn’t capable of understanding algebra because later in life he had a career in bookkeeping for car dealers. His teachers weren’t bad teachers, and their teaching methods weren’t wrong. It’s just that Grandpa needed to hear from one particular person. I suspect Grandpa also needed time to process all those other teachings and everything came together once he received the explanation that resonated with him.
On the spur of the moment one Saturday I went to a seminar offered by the head of another Karate organization. He’s been kind enough to send his students to events that the organization I belong to puts on. I figured I’d return the favor – and besides, I really wanted to know more about body mechanics. I just wasn’t understanding the concept of throwing techniques from the body. Who knows how many black belts have tried to teach me this.
I am so very glad I went to the seminar – the first five minutes alone were worth the money, the traffic, and the ridiculously inadequate parking situation. Something clicked when I watched the very first demonstration. I immediately knew this was the one particular explanation I needed. I also needed a good solid hour playing with everything, and I got exactly that! You bet I scribbled notes in my training notebook afterward.
I’d like to say my Karate is vastly better as a result of going to this seminar. Alas. OK, well, there’s been a little improvement in maybe three or four little areas. The main thing is now I have tools to work with during my practice times and I will improve over time. What’s more, someday, when I see someone struggling with the same thing, I have more tools in my teaching toolbox.
The “life lesson” in this for me is to keep asking questions, to keep seeking answers, and to be patient with myself.