February 2016 – Relationships 2

Today’s expedition into my February journal starts out light and fluffy but ends in one of the deepest lessons I’ve had to date.

150115_Cottage2/11/16 – Home Dojo

Tonight’s lesson:  We are dependent on one another, and it is a joy when we are generous with each other.

Sensei’s wife will be helping out both days next week then she’ll be helping out one day per week from here on out.  This will help tremendously.  Also, our extra “invitation only” advanced training will start up later this month.  Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Neither of these black belts get paid to do this.  They’re taking their personal time to teach us.

Sensei asked me tonight if I could help tomorrow night moving tournament mats from storage into a truck.  I’d long since made sure my calendar was clear because I suspected I would be needed.  I joyfully said yes even though this is going to be a boatload of hard work (not enough people are going to show up).  I have been given so much, I will be given more, and there is a need I can fill.  Of course I will be there.

150430_Medal2/14/16 – Tournament

My Sensei and I spent a good bit of time together this weekend what with all the work that needed to be done.  He initiated conversations about some very hard things our dojo is facing, things that have been weighing me down just a bit lately.  I got a lot of insight into his perspective on things.  I trust him a bit more now.  One of the hardest conversations took place at a restaurant, seated with four other good folks and I was by far the lowest ranked.  If he trusted them enough to have this kind of conversation with me in that setting, I had to put trust in them too and give my perspective back.  I’m not used to being that vulnerable.  At one point one person said (seriously) I’d just earned myself some pushups, but my Sensei didn’t think so at all.  Narrow escape there, LOL.  But yeah, definitely navigating some tricky waters both there and while sharing rides to and from different places.  I think I came out OK, and with a new appreciation of how difficult it is to be a Sensei.

if I’m going to be working someday with these higher-ranked people, especially Sensei himself, I guess I need to get my feet wet sometime discussing the hard things.  Sensei initiated every single one of the conversations, so I think he was prying me out of my clam shell.  The hard “stuff” affects me not only as a present student but also as a potential future assistant instructor.  Mostly I’m relieved that Sensei brought so much out into the open and gave me a chance to ask questions and express opinions.  It was really intimidating to do this with the others in the restaurant even though each one there has had their hands in my training, and three of them have personally pushed me hard during sparring and have seen what I’m made of.

I’m honored that Sensei took a chance on me.  There are any number of ways I could’ve responded poorly and there’s any amount of damage I could do in the future.  But I didn’t and I won’t.  I guess if Sensei didn’t think I could handle these difficult talks, he wouldn’t have made himself and the dojo vulnerable.  I wrote a little thank-you email to Sensei for taking a chance on me.


I think what’s happening here is a parallel to the physical training I’m getting.  There’s a lot that goes into the running of a dojo because it’s not full of robots.  It’s full of human beings and all that goes with them, both good and bad.  I have to trust my mentors and my own guts to navigate me through the tricky and sticky parts of relating to my fellow karateka.

Author: Joelle White

I began training in Karate in June of 2014 after a 27 year hiatus.

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