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Proud Sensei Gets Teary-Eyed

Tonight I ran the first promotion for my women's class. They have brand-new yellow belts now, and the positive experience of showing their kata and self-defense to their family members.

I kept cutting my gaze over to their kids, all of whom were closely watching and smiling. It isn't often kids get to see the process of their parents working toward a goal, let alone performing in front of others. Considering the number of pictures of the kids were taking, and the enthusiasm of their applause, it was just important for the them as it was for their moms.

Tying on their new belts tonight was an awesome experience I'm fortunate to share with these brave women. They're already changing. A mere ten weeks into the experience, and they're already so much more comfortable with their own abilities. One has decided she wants to learn nunchaku. I can't wait to see what they'll be doing by the end of summer.

Last night's dojo-wide belt promotion was equally wonderful, but for a different reason. Y'see, about a year ago, I took on an autistic student. He was twelve years old and had very rough physical coordination. He never spoke more to me than a barely-whispered "Yes, ma'am," rarely looked at me, and very rarely responded to direct questions.

His progress has been phenomenal. He now gives me brief answers to questions like, "What did you do in school?" When I put the stripes he has earned on his belt, he will look me in the eye and shake my hand. But he hasn't been able to run an entire kata on his own, not without someone either calling out the pattern (turn and low block, step and punch, etc.) or performing the kata beside him.

So he and I had a private lesson Wednesday night and worked on something special. At promotion, I came out on the mat with him and asked him to do kata with me just as we had the day before, with him pretending to be the teacher helping me learn the kata.

He put his toes on the starting place, waited until I took a place a few feet away, and began. He called out every single movement just as I had been doing for him, he spoke loudly enough for everyone in the dojo to hear it, and he performed the movements himself. I didn't say a word. I didn't move before he did. And he did the entire kata without a single mistake.

And he gave me a high-five at the end and burst out laughing.

And all the students cheered and all the parents clapped.

And this sensei cried.

I love my job.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 31st, 2014 04:31 am (UTC)
How wonderful. Your post choked me up. From knowing what your women's class has faced to the awesome student you mentioned at the end of your post.

You are an awesome teacher because you care so much about your students. All of these people succeed because you help them see themselves...their true selves.

May. 31st, 2014 11:36 pm (UTC)
I totally love my students -- even the ones who get on my nerves class after class after class. I try to see them as they wish to be seen and help them get to that point. Some are admittedly easier than others. :)
May. 31st, 2014 04:38 am (UTC)
Congratulations to all!
May. 31st, 2014 11:37 pm (UTC)
They all deserve it. :)
May. 31st, 2014 10:50 am (UTC)
Good work.
May. 31st, 2014 11:37 pm (UTC)
It's good work to have!
May. 31st, 2014 01:40 pm (UTC)
Heartfelt congratulations!
May. 31st, 2014 11:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
May. 31st, 2014 11:39 pm (UTC)
Structure and expectations, yes. For some, it's also gaining a *reason* to meet the expectations.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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