“Never forget the spirit of first beginning” -Kenwa Mabuni (Founder of Shito-Ryu)
One of my biggest pet peeves is arrogance. Yes, I am guilty of being arrogant to, but that was easily shut down (you can read about it in “Buckling Up“). Anyway, recently someone came up to me and asked about where I currently do my training and what I do. Well, I kindly answered and explained what my style was, what my dojo does, and I ended the conversation with an invitation to come try out our dojo. He kindly accepted the invitation and came to showed up to class the next day. We started off with our basic warm-ups and stretches in the first half, and later we were going to move into the second half for forms and techniques. Well, during the break, I introduced the new guy to my instructor and asking about his martial arts experience. To my surprise, he was really diverse prior to coming to our dojo! He received a black belt in Jujitsu, Tae-Kwon-Do, and Hapkido! I thought that was really cool because I’ve personally have never taken Hapkido and I wanted to improve my ground fighting in Jujitsu. I was really excited to have him to share techniques and everything!
(Since there will be two other beginners, we will call this guy George for confidential reasons 🙂 )
The second half of class was a review of forms then techniques so we pulled George to the side with my instructor, two other beginners, and I. I was basically used as a test dummy for my instructor to teach a few techniques we use in Shito-Ryu. So starting off, we allowed George to show us a few techniques of his. I learned the flying arm bar, hip throws, and a whole bunch of other throws that I didn’t even think existed! Well, it was my instructors turn to tell him about our style. While the other two beginners were all eager, I realized George began to space out and look around instead of paying attention to my instructor after three techniques. When my instructor gave the group a technique to practice, George gave a sigh.
Well at that moment, I was a little annoyed, but I let it go and worked on the technique with him. After maybe twice, he gave up and said, “This is kind of boring. Can we spar or use those weapons or something?” My response was, “Dude, you did the technique like twice and you’re bored?” He claims that he already knew the technique and can do it in his sleeps. Wow, ok. I called my instructor over after that response, and he asked George to perform the technique on him. Obviously, it was bad. It was a simple break-away technique.
George obviously had no interest in learning anything new from our bag of tricks, but he had a big interest in the weapons. Of course, with our dojo being traditional and all, we have certain rules for the weapons. The main one was that you needed to be a certain belt rank to use one of the weapons. Since he was new to us, he was considered a newbie and a white belt until the instructor said so otherwise. So, we told him about the process that you had to go through to earn the rights to do certain things. Of course, he argues that since he has a black belt in three different styles, shouldn’t he get privilege? HA! Please…a true black belt doesn’t act like a kid when his mother takes his toy away. A true black belt’s journey has just begun with much to learn.
In the end, George never came back. Sorry dude, if you’re not willing to learn basics prior to weaponry, then we’re not going to teach you and have our butts get in trouble if you hurt yourself. So, the lesson that you should take out of this is that you should “Never forget the spirit of first beginning.” Remember when you first started martial arts and you were so eager to learn everything? Don’t forget that feeling. You can learn something every day no matter what your rank is or what your age is. That determination will take you far!