Monday, August 16, 2010

Options for None

"Step out left, 90 degrees, to left forward stance left lower block. HUT! Step through to right forward stance, right lunge punch. HUT! 180 degree turn behind, front foot moves clockwise, stepping out with right forward stance right lower block. HUT! Step through left forward stance, left lunge punch. HUT!"

Don't forget to bend your front knee. Can you see your big toe?

Back leg straight.

Hips forward.

Both hands load up strong for the block.

Turn your front foot in.

Step strong! You're in a fight!

Snap your head! Look where you're going. Eyes up!

*****

I didn't have to think through any of that. It's as automatic for me to teach kata to karate students as it is for me to wash my hair first in the shower. I can zone out while I watch a group of students performing techniques but really that is when I'm in my prime. That's when I can figure out their body mechanics and hone in on what is causing them to do moves incorrectly and fix them.

Like tonight a girl was punching more like an arm swing rather than a straight shot. And it wasn't because she didn't now how to move her fist. It was because her elbow moved first, drifted off her body and, you know how that kids' song goes, the elbow bone's connected to the wrist bone. So by correcting the right piece of the system, the whole system works effectively.

What the hell does this all even mean?

I have no idea.

It's a big, fat metaphor for life right? Step back, find out what's not working and why. Fix the why, step back, look again, let it ride, tweak some more. Small changes in the right places can mean huge improvements. But you have to know how to find the right places.

Tonight another student asked us if we were ever going to be Masters. While I have learned to never say never, the likelihood of that ever happening is not something I'd bet my house on. I did manage not to laugh out loud though.

So if I'm not on track for that (or on track for really anything), what's the point of still going, still showing up, still putting in the time to teach and promote the martial arts?

Later elbow girl told us she was practicing her self-defense with her father and she started the "what if?" game with us. "What if he grabs my other hand? What do I do? What if he kicks me? What do I do?" I love those types of questions. That's when you know you've got a student who is excited. Or maybe scared. Or both. Oh man, yeah, teaching self-defense is probably the #1 reason I am still teaching karate. Not only do I feel like I am helping people, but I freaking LOVE doing it. The "what if?" questions from students fuel my brain and keep me trying to learn more.

We had to tell elbow girl that you have to crawl before you can run. And that the things we teach have to be practiced (a lot), that sometimes things don't work the first time and you have to try something else, but we'll teach her (or anyone) more than one way to get out something. And giving up is not an option.

Giving up is not an option.

How's that for another big, fat life metaphor?