I think I love compliments on my teaching more than I love compliments on my speed, power, or form… And I love what I learn from teaching.
2/6/16 – Affiliate YMCA Dojo
When we were told to partner up for sparring, one of the black belts grabbed me immediately. I haven’t sparred with her yet, so I was very happy to be faced with someone new who could kick my butt. Unfortunately, she had to bow out – she started not feeling well so she opted to be a corner judge for sparring.
A pal of mine, an 11 year old LP, didn’t have a partner so she grabbed me the instant the black belt took a chair to be a corner judge. I like her because I have to be extremely precise with my speed and intensity. I can’t go at my full speed/intensity, but the instant I go too slowly she turns me into a pretzel or throws me. Very fun!!!
Her father (the dojo Sensei) nixed that. There was another girl who was closer to his daughter’s size, so he had us swap partners. I was paired with a twelve year old boy. Oh well. No problem.
When we were called ringside I “read” right away that this kid was intimidated by the situation and by my belt and six inch height advantage. So I made it a little scarier for him by kiai-ing loudly and charging. But when I reached him, I settled into the “slow and flow” pace (continuous smooth motion) that College Dojo’s Sempai has been having us work with as a warm-up to full-on sparring. I barely touched the boy. My goal was to get him face to face with big and scary and get him to look for opportunities to fight back.
When a point was called in my favor, the dojo Sensei knew exactly what I was up to with all my noise and charging and continuous attacks, and pointed it out to the boy. He told the kid not to be intimidated by all that. Then I was told to ramp it up a bit. I reminded myself that pushing hard is the way this dojo always rolls. So I was quite scary. Kicks to the head, jabs to the face, and herding him into a corner – but all this at a speed that is slower than my usual. I thought sweeps would be too much for the boy so I didn’t do them.
This was fantastic work for exercising control and a great opportunity for me to practice reading the boy to make sure I wasn’t completely swamping him. I ditched defending – I wanted him to make contact. I was so very happy the two times the boy managed to score that I beamed at him from across the ring when halts were called to award his points. After the fight was over I shook his hand very enthusiastically and told him, “well done.”
Now he’s well prepared for tournament. I hope he realizes that if he can face me, he can face his peers.
Because of time constraints the dojo sensei called a halt for the day after the next pair of fighters. I was disappointed. I really wanted to fight anyone who could kick my butt. It must have shown on my face. After class the black belt who was supposed to have sparred me came over and apologized. I told her no worries and gave her some sympathy for what she’s going through medically. The dojo Sensei gave me a big hug and said he was really glad to have me at practice today. I know it was because of what I did for that boy.
A couple of weeks prior to this, I sparred with my own “Home Dojo” Sensei. Due to his medical stuff, it was the first time I’d ever sparred him. He pushed me harder than I ever thought I could go. I think I have a tiny bit of insight into Sensei’s perspective of that fight.
Feb 22, 2016 – College Dojo
I chose to be a white belt’s partner today. It was a fairly equal playing field because of the nature of the drill we were doing. None of the dojos I’m involved in work on takedowns all that often, so I’m not really much more skilled than the next guy – I’m just more confident in my ability to learn the throw and to be thrown in turn 🙂
Sensei built the sequence step by step (that method itself is a good lesson for me). I gave my partner a little feedback every now and then, and made sure I performed everything to the best of my ability so as to be a good model for him. He was a quick learner and a joy to work with.
So what’s different for me today… That white belt student came up to me after class and thanked me for working with him. He said he learned a lot from me and he enjoys working with higher ranked students. This youngster also said I’ll be a good teacher someday. I thanked him and told him I myself enjoy working with higher ranked people because I learn a lot too. I also told him I enjoy working with lower ranked students because I learn how to teach.