Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"You Could Eat A Sandwich!"

As a brown belt student, I had a tough class instructor. The warm-ups were gruelling and class was just as demanding. Within two months, the class size dwindled from approximately fifteen students to five. My training partners and I had to go to this class because we were preparing for Shodan. There were times that I would grumble and look for excuses to miss class although I never did. He would yell and tell us to kick or punch faster. If he thought the class was moving too slow he would call out "You could eat a sandwich before that kick/punch landed!"

After class, I would grumble some more because I was certain he hated me. I even spoke to a different instructor who assured me that it was not the case. This instructor was tough on everyone. Sparring class was the worst. Once, I was side-kicked so hard that I was sent flying across the dojo floor.

Several years have passed since I was a brown belt. Sadly, this class instructor is no longer involved in the martial arts. Looking back, I know that I learned a lot from him. I grew as a martial artist during that time. I learned that I was stronger than I thought. I became more confident in my training.

I did not know it then but I know it now. As a brown belt I did not realize what he was trying to do for the class. Now that I am a class instructor I better understand.

Every so often, I hear the words (in a much calmer tone) of this class instructor coming out of my mouth "You could eat a sandwich!"


Patrick Parker said...

Ha! That's pretty good. I had an instructor one time that told us he could smoke a cigar, drink a martini, and hold a conversation while sparring us. And you know what - he probably could.

Noah said...

My current judo sensei says that he can make a burrito and eat it from the time we start a throw to the time it's over :P. I have said similar things when I was an assistant karate instructor, but I kept an upbeat attitude, and I think that makes all the difference for the "in-the-moment" motivation.

Michele said...

Patrick - A martini...that's funny!

Noah: Good point. The way something is said is just as important as what is said. Thanks.

Dan Prager said...

Mmmm, sandwich! ;-)

Seriously, three cheers for instructors who have the guts to be tough at the cost of not always being liked.