REAL TALK from a Karate Teacher
This photo is from 2 years ago, Takamiyagi Sensei’s first visit to the USA.
As I scan the group, I realize that so much can change in two years; some have grown in skill, others have quit, and still others have been on a very long ‘break.’
Some of these in the group earned their black belt since this photo, and are shining brilliantly; others have earned their black belt and quickly faded away.
TEACHERS: As a teacher, I am proud of every single student, and I’m overjoyed when I get to tie that black belt around their waist for the first time. And, as a teacher, I simply do not understand how the student with a new black belt..the student that was excited, overjoyed, and emotional when they were promoted..can just walk away.
We train, we learn, we sometimes make mistakes, and we grow from them if we are humble enough to admit and accept our mistakes.
Students quit every day in dojo around the world, but when a new black belt student quits, it’s a low blow to the teacher(s) that promoted them. To be fair, they simply weren’t ready; as a teacher I realized to late that I have promoted a couple of students that just weren’t ready. Physically, they had the skill, and they met the curriculum, but the character of a black belt will not allow him/her to simply quit. I own those mistakes and have learned from them; I’m confident that I will make more mistakes, and I hope that I will learn from them as well.
STUDENTS: Although you may not realize it, your teachers care very deeply about you, your success, and your future. We invest our most precious resource in each student – our time. When you reach the black belt ranks, you are an indirect representative of your teacher. You look up to us, and we look to you as the future torchbearers, and can only hope our time invested in you was not wasted.
We all make mistakes, I’ve made more than my share, and regret all of them, but there is no looking back. Learn from mistakes, implement changes, and move forward.
This post is public, and I assure you that I am not singling any one out, I’m simply sharing what’s on my mind.
Too often, we share only the good, the positive, and the triumphs. Rarely do we let the public gain a glimpse of our struggles, our heartaches, and our heartbreaks.
Although I have been a teacher for 20+ years, I am first and foremost a student. As a student, I have made mistakes. As a black belt, I have disappointed my teacher. To err is human, to forgive is divine.
Students, your teacher will take you back; he/she is probably waiting eagerly and patiently for you to come back to the dojo; it isn’t as difficult as you think.