Originally Posted on June 6, 2011 by Karri
Martial arts is a fascination of mine. Like most men, it has been since I was a boy. I dreamed of becoming Bruce Lee, a Ninja Turtle, a Samurai, Mr. Miyagi and all manner of other heroes from pop culture. I never thought though that I would end up where I am—teaching martial arts in my home town of Gig Harbor, WA.
I try to think back how I got here, and I keep coming up with small things that lead me here: my desire to protect the ones I love (who mostly live here), the path of re-discovering the importance of family as part of our “Code of Mindful Action”, I missed the nature, and the scenery, etc.
Then I realized that the art I study wasn’t being taught anywhere west of the Mississippi, and my training was going to be lost to atrophy and neglect if I didn’t keep practicing. The only way to get training partners who move the way we do was to make them (i.e. train them from the ground up). I’d helped do it before. I spent a lot of time with kohai (younger students) coaching, encouraging and training with them to help them get ahead. I’ve always enjoyed sharing what I’m interested in with others.
There have been countless other “nudges” that have taken me here. Never a defining moment, but a persistent gentle pull taking me down this path. I’m still learning what it all means to be a “sensei” and how best to reach people and help them get the most out of themselves. It’s tricky and it comes to me in nibbles, but the good news is that as long as I’m paying attention the nibbles keep coming.
So, now I’m on the precipice of signing a lease for a big, new (to me) training hall with nobody to answer to but my conscience and desire to make the people around me safer and better. I keep waiting for that satori moment when I know that I’ve arrived into the secret society of martial arts master instructors, but I’m increasingly suspicious that it’s the sort of thing that is only apparent to others, and mostly in retrospect. I guess I’ll have to settle for the daily affirmations made by students signing up and showing up, or a parent telling me how much their child loves what they are doing, and are talking about protecting others and right living.
I guess my idea of a martial arts master is moving more toward Master Yoda, and I dream more about making master martial artists than beating up hordes of evil minions, but the drive is still there. I’ll keep you posted on where it takes me next.