December 30, 2020
Many times I’ve counseled the class with “if you’re making mistakes, you’re doing it right”. That being said some mistakes can be the hardest lessons for us as students of the martial arts. One such mistake I made was trying to go to hard with my Judo teacher Mr. Shiina when I was a much younger man; me in my mid 30’s and he in his late 60’s at the time. He was encouraging me to work on “my throws” while he defended with the gentlest of touches. I could not throw him! Truth be told it frustrated me so much that in an effort to win rather than practice I almost hurt him. Needless to say the class was over and he never engaged with me in that way again. I violated something so deep between the student and teacher because I couldn’t see past my own competitiveness and insecurities that I damaged the relationship, in some ways forever. What I learned through years of reflection was that lots of the ways in which I had been indoctrinated prevented me from seeing that Sensei was only trying to help me. The “grind and hustle”, “win at all cost” mentality had flipped the switch and was running the show rather than me the student of this great teacher and now I have to live with it forever.
Where in your life are you not seeing that someone is really just trying to support and lift you up? That your poor out look is destroying a very good relationship? What can you do to salvage the relationship before it’s damaged beyond repair? The hardest part of this lesson for me is on some level knowing that I missed out on the deepest parts of what he had to offer as a teacher because I couldn’t keep my own ego in check.