Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The first step

            I've been pondering the idea of starting a blog for some time now. Plenty of instructors have let on that keeping a journal is a very good way to expand upon your martial arts training and I intend this blog to be at least a part of that journal. I feel it necessary to thank Master Mark Jorgensen and Master Scott Homschek for the inspiration as I follow their blogs religiously and am inspired by every entry.

            I do have to offer this disclaimer: I am not a writer. In fact, my brain leans more toward the maths  and sciences of the world. I have always found it very difficult to express myself in general. I can probably be best described as an introvert. When you go out to a public place and you see someone sitting quietly just watching and listening by themselves or within a very small group, that person might be me or someone like me. Interaction with other people quite honestly drains me under most circumstances. Notice I said 'most'...When I have my dobahk on, it's a whole different story. Everyone should have a 'thing' and Tang Soo Do is mine. I will never claim to be an expert as I am quite positive that I have much to learn.

            My martial arts training started like many. I was nervous and unsure, but willing to learn and follow the instructions of the master instructor and his black belts. The studio and members were all very welcoming. Everyone has a reason for starting the martial arts which is personal to them. Mine was a general interest due to movies and a disgust with being bullied. I trusted the instructor and his students, which is why I continued to be a pupil there. The first step to really learning martial arts, or anything for that mater, is to trust your instructor(s). A student that doubts the lesson will never truly grasp the lesson. When I was a beginner, I took this concept for granted. I just trusted, listened, watched, and practiced. Looking back, I realize that some of the students that were having difficultly while I excelled quite simply didn't trust as much as they should. Now that I have my own students I am beginning to understand the importance of that student/instructor trust relationship. Some that come through my doors trust immediately and are willing to follow instructions without question. Others are cautious at first but eventually come around. There are a few that never learn to trust and those are the ones that eventually quit. It may take days, weeks, months or even years, but once their lack of trust gets in the way of them continuing to learn, the frustration keeps them  from continuing.
            I take my role as an instructor very seriously. I do my best to make every student feel welcome from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they leave. I do that because my instructor did that for me and because it's the proper thing to do. One of the many roles as instructor is to help people realize that they are capable of great things. If a student doesn't trust me, they will never walk through the doors I open for them. The first step a student takes along the path of 'The Way' will determine whether they continue or not. That first step will determine how they follow the path you are leading them down. We all stumble, but how fast will we get up, if we do at all?

            I will end this entry with some advice.
            Perspective students: enter the studio with an open mind and a willing heart. If you are the type of person that is very cautious, just remember that this is the age of technology. Do your research and ask plenty of questions. Any good instructor will have nothing to hide. He/she should know their lineage  as a martial artist and be able to explain the types of things you will be learning. You, as a potential student, need to be able to trust your new potential instructor.
            Instructors: You've made it to the point of having your own students for a reason. It started when your instructor trusted you with their students. Always remember what it feels like to walk into the dojang for the first time. I may not be comfortable in most social situations but Tang Soo Do continues to help me with that. When I wear my dobahk around other people that are also wearing dobahks, I am comfortable because we instantly have something in common. Once people find something in common, it's easier to have discussions when differences arise. We all need to take a first step, and that first step gets a lot easier when you are around someone you trust.

            There are many lessons to learn as we travel down the path of 'The Way'.

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