Monday, May 13, 2013

Fat A** Masters

I am sure you know some Fat A** Masters.  They are way to big for the uniform, and they hardly every where one.  The epitomize the saying, those that can, do, and those that can no do, coach.  They are everywhere, and they have not taken a class since black and white TV.  They demand respect you have never seen them earn, and they congregate like bugs flying to a bug light.  Workout means lifting a beer mug, and it makes them break into a sweat.  You know you have seen them.

A couple of years ago I was in church and the pastor said, "You will never know how hard it is for some of the people who are here this morning to even walk into the room."  Since I have TBI, and walking into church is very hard for a variety of reason, including, though not limited to: The music gives me a head ache; I owe the church for a missions trip 5 years ago, and I don't know if I will ever be able to pay it back; no one talks to me; if someone does talk to me, even if I know them, I am terrified that I will not understand what they are talking about; I'm afraid I am being judged; I am afraid I will judge them; I might fall asleep due to the lost of translation issues of TBI; I might tell them what I really think, due to loss of impulse control.  Anyway, when he said this, I leaned over to my wife and said, "I doubt that anyone hear has a bigger issue than I do just coming to church."

Later in the day, the person I teach Sunday school with said to me, "Did you hear pastor ____ talking about you at church today?" No.  I was pretty annoyed that he didn't mention me, since he was talking about difficulties that are deep in my wheel house, so no, I missed it.  (I thought this, but did not say it.)  I said, "No, What did he say?"

Turns out I was the person who they will never know how difficult it was to come into church.  Me.  Yep.  Me.

15 years Ago
Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I have decided to compete in tournaments again.  Not because I like to compete, but because I do not like to compete.  I hate it. (See all the reason above.)  Yet, by so doing, I gain strength for myself, and give an example to my students.  I don't know if I will ever get back to winning as I did 2 decades ago.  I want to and I am going to try to, but who knows.  The work will tell the tale.

I have several instructor in several divergent arts. I take class at least once a week, and generally 2 or three times. It has been like this since I got my black belt in Tang Soo Do decades ago.

I also work out (weights and cardio) 3 to 6 times a week as well, though honestly that only restarted 5 months ago.  It hurts like hell.  My joints are gone, though not due to martial arts.  My brain is gone, also not due to martial arts.  Every step forward takes effort that I am sure is going to crack me when I take the step, but we take it anyway.  (I say we, because without my wife and daughter, I would not be taking any steps.)

Anyway, I did a form that I have not done in a tournament for 15 years or more, but one that allows

my knees and shoulder to function, and gives me the feeling that I can actually do the art well.  I got last place.  The winner tells me that I made some mistakes, including small circles and poor foot work and I noticed that I had flapping hands.  Sad day.  At first, my thought was, Old Fart Master, how dare he.

Then it dawned on me, he was my age, and my rank.  I might even have a decade or so on him in belt.  So I listened to what he had to say.  I went out into the hall and integrated what he had to say.  I spent the next 14 days working what he had to say.  I found my notes from when I first learned the form, I found other peoples videos and I reworked my approach to and my understanding of this form.  

Why?  Because I have no idea why he was there, and he has no idea why I was there, and just like the story about church above, the only person any of that matters to is me.  Yet, he went out of his way to help me.  That was cool.  The least I could do was be a good student. I forgot what I teach. Respect everyone, as is their due, for being alive.  Respect the art, the belt and the knowledge, because you have no idea what they have come through to get to where they are today.  The bow is a way of life, not just an action.

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