Friday, August 29, 2014

A Man Walks into a Dojo And Says, "Ouch!"

SLAM! *Kids shriek and then melt into giggles*

The noise wakes me from my reverie to find my children's sensei making an adventurous racket with kick shields in order to keep the kids focused, giggly and involved.  He is 6'3", built like a mountain and eats typical black belts for lunch.  My eight year old daughter loves to hug him and has nicknamed him her Cuddle Bug (when he isn't around).  Situation normal and I drift back to my thoughts.

One would think it would be hard to peacefully meditate in a school filled with kids, punches, kicks, yells and bangs.  Strangely enough, it is profoundly easy.  I have never, since my brother took martial arts in our youth, felt that karate was about punching and kicking.  I'm not quite sure where that idea arose in the first place, but it has always been much more than that.  My earliest memory of one of his martial arts lessons included most palpably a powerful feeling that accompanied it.  It was something at once deep and lofty, generous and commanding of respect.  In fact the feeling so impressed me that I felt that martial arts was reserved only for those who were somehow greater than the typical human being and found myself shy to the point of oblivion of approaching so profound and beautiful an art.


I open one eye to find Mr. K attacking my seven year old son.  His massive fist miraculously stops about an inch away from my precious prince's nose.  Josh lets out a delighted giggle and looks at his teacher with wide eyes of admiration.  Yeah, that happens too.  I melt away into thought again.  I must be a terrible mother perhaps to be so calm about my little one's face so close to becoming  mangled, but that is the other strange paradox.  I am quite relaxed at the dojo partly because I know that it isn't going to happen, Mr. K is even more profoundly interested in safety than I am, and that self control is a paramount key to what transpires here.  

And of course we can't forget Rocky.  This guru, as I have grown to call him, fell into my life when darkness encircled me and I hadn't strength left to stand.  I didn't realize that his kindness, his belief in me and his protective attitude came to some great extent from his experience in martial arts and the fact he taught it with a passion.  One might conclude that my long association with him is what inspired me to sign my kids up for martial arts years later and that I found the peace and passion in martial arts because of his influence.  I can't say that exactly, but the art seems to continually creep into my life in various ways when I least expected it.  I entered my kids into the dojo without knowing why save that God strongly impressed, even coerced me into doing it on nearly blind faith and a calm assurance it was His will.  I didn't find martial arts.  Through the direction of God I'm pretty sure that it found me.

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