Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Dojo Tale

Last Thursday night we had a great class. I had the class working on bo bunkai, specifically disarms. There were several black belts and a few advanced students in class. The brown belts were working through the disarms as the black belts were offering suggestions and providing examples. It was a great exchange of ideas. It made me think of how grateful I am to my instructors and the importance of training with a partner. I consider myself very lucky.

Then I remembered the following tale from the early years of the dojo:

Many years ago two potential students walked through the dojo door interested in karate lessons. They were male and in their early twenties. My husband spoke with them about the dojo and Okinawa Kenpo. After a few minutes, one of the men informed my husband that they had been training for years. He knows many of the local instructors and inquired to where they were training and who was their instructor. They proudly explained that they did not have an instructor. They bought a variety of martial arts videos and movies and were practicing for years in their basement. They wanted to know what rank that would make them in Okinawa Kenpo. My husband politely explained (ok, maybe not that politely) that their training would not merit any rank in Okinawa Kenpo.

The two men signed up for introductory lessons. During class, my husband was reviewing self-defense. One of the men wanted to review a technique they learned from a video. He told my husband that this technique would accelerate the heart and make the lungs feel like they are going to explode. They wanted to "try out" this technique and asked if they could test it out on my husband. Needless to say, they did not try their heart accelerating technique and they never came back to the dojo.

I cannot imagine trying to learn martial arts without an instructor.


Meg said...

Isn't it amazing how some people think that just because they've watched a video or read a book, they're ready to attempt something? I wonder how many people out there do things like that.
I'm glad they didn't get the chance to try out their heart accelerating technique and that they didn't return. It sounds like they'd have been questioning everything they were taught.

Anonymous said...

This kind of thing reminds me of an early Simpsons episode where Bart pretends to take karate lessons and then taunts Lisa with the "Touch of Death" technique from a video game.

"Bart," wearily pleads his mother at the dinner table, "please don't use the Touch of Death on your sister."

To further quote the Simpsons, "It's funny because it's true."

Adam @ Low Tech Combat said...

There are some people a little out of touch with there own ability out there. Like the saying goes, 'A little knowledge is dangerous'.

Michele said...

Meg: Thank you for your comment. I bet there are a lot of people who would do such things.

BBBlues: I do not think I ever saw that episode. I wish I had.

Adam: Thanks for visiting my blog. Out of touch is right. They came to the dojo expecting to be handed a promotion.