Thursday, June 30, 2011

Being a high belt.. Part 2

There is such a strange tight-rope walking kind of feeling when you are one of the high ranked students of a dojo. At least, that is how I've been feeling since I achieved some experience, and responsibility in my walk.

At all times I need to keep my Sensei's expectations, and goals in mind, but at the same time I am responsible to find my own path. I am reminded that Karate training is both a community, and individual action. I have to think of what "I" want from my training, and pursue it, and yet at the same time I need to be aware of, and responsive to the various needs around me.

What a balancing act!!! Too much of one thing or the other creates problems. Yet, isn't that what everything in life is like? Too much food is not good, but neither is not enough. Too much sleep will strip you of wonderful life moments, but not enough will deplete your enjoyment.

I've been thinking about the "Higher belt helping out the Lower belt" posting that I placed previously on this blog. What if the whole idea in this situation is also "balance"? What if a higher belt supports the efforts of a lower belt with their experience? It's not that they are "teaching" the other, but more that they are propping up a weak point with their strength. For example, the lower belt was taught how to do a side kick by their Sensei, but struggles to raise their knee properly. A higher belt kindly suggests how it could be done more easily from their own built up knowledge from experiencing the same problem. This solution may, or may not work for the lower belt, but this interchange can create a shared understanding, and relationship.

I can still remember how strongly I was affected by just a quick, easy suggestion from one of my sempai many years ago about how I could stretch out my knees using a wall, and lessen their tension, and pain after training. That sempai had been there/done that, and had found something that works for them. I chose to implement their suggestion, and found instant relief. I am grateful for the personal investment, and sincere concern that this person showed to me. I will always carry that memory in my heart as I travel. I no longer train with this person, but I send prayers of gratitude in their direction each time I stretch out my knees.