Behind The Scenes

Since I have been writing this blog I have struggled with the direction of the writing.  I would like to be entertaining, but I really started it with the idea that I would have a location in which to store my notes from class and have people reflect on those if they felt they could add something.  

Since I have started Shūdokan I figured I would just stick with the notes and not worry about the personalities in the class.  The class is small enough and folks are nice enough that I don't feel the need to write about them much.  

My last school had such a cast of characters and in regular rotation that I could have really spent most of my blog writing about them.  This was most likely because I lived in a small town and everyone knew everyone and their business. For instance my good friend ended up divorcing his wife and soon she was dating another one of my good friends from class.  It would put us into a weird situation in which we couldn't talk comfortably.  

A compounding feature to this small town dynamic was that I became friends with my last Teacher.  We socialized frequently and I saw him go through two marriages and other big changes in his life.  However, the man who teaches is not always the guy you drink beer with.  I will say this in his case, he was consistent as person could be, but it always troubled me to see him going through trials and tribulations.  I obviously wanted my teacher to be a superhuman untroubled by the slings and arrows of the world.  

Which brings me to Reed.  He has the outward appearance of the serene Buddha. He is a storehouse of knowledge due to teaching exclusively for almost 20 years.  Everything has a reason and everything has been thoughtfully considered.  His personality is relaxed and consistent and he has the ability to share a small joke now and then.  

Last week he mentioned that he was unable to go to the extended Monday night work because he was moving.  When I asked he said that he was moving back in with his wife.  This confused me because they always together at the class; dropping off and picking up kids.  Apparently, they were separated for several years!  

I wanted to be supportive and offered my truck for moving.  This lead to an evening of moving a lot of martial arts stuff.  As I have mentioned before, Reed ran a successful school for many years and as a consequence has accumulated a lot of stuff. I think we moved forty or fifty staffs, swords and assorted ephemera. On top of that four wavemaster dummies, and 50 3x3 sport mat squares.  This doesn't even include 100's of gi's, signs, tournament equipment, and paperwork.  Probably the neatest thing was the posters from the past where we got to see the students over the years.  That connection with lineage is important to me even though the school is a shadow of itself.  Reed's instructor told him that he could make a go with 100 students.  Reed had 60 as his highest number.  

Last night I was Uke for Mark's practice.  He practiced 40 techniques on me and then did 10 kata.  I was impressed in spite of myself.  Of course I felt like a walking bruise in the evening.  Taking repetitive falls on hardwood is okay for one or two times, but 10 or more was having an accumulative effect.  

He is showing rapid improvement.  Anything we mentioned last week has been taken care of.  Better kicks and relaxed shoulders for sure.


Anonymous said…
Well hope it works out for him. At least he kept it out of the dojo. My kung fu instructor got into a patch of weirdness and ended up bringing his woes to class. That was one of the reasons I defected when in Indianapolis.
Potatoe Fist said…
I have to admit that he compartmentalizes very well, but the structure of our time together really doesn't allow anyone to chat. He gets there we fall in line and it's very formal and then we leave. The small amount of socializing is done between me and two other students for about 3 minutes. Sensei will often talk about some subject at the end of class, but never anything personal. I guess I would say he's very professional.

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