Do you remember what it was like to be a white belt? Do you recall how you felt the first time you stepped on the dojo floor? Were you nervous, intimidated, anxious, excited or happy?
I walked on the dojo floor with a slight advantage. My husband was a brown belt at the time. I was used to going to tournaments and watching demonstrations. I was familiar with some of the kata simply from watching Tom practice. The week before I signed up for classes, I asked Tom to review the pattern of the first kata. I did not want to feel completely lost. It didn't matter too much...I still felt lost.
It has been a while since I was a white belt in karate. As an instructor, I think it is important to remember how it felt at the beginning. New students come in the dojo and the black belts seem to make everything look so easy. The first kata, waza and ten step blocking drill felt like Mt. Everest as a white belt. As a black belts, we could probably demonstrate them in our sleep.
Remember what it is like:
To have your hands going all directions
To focus on your feet only to forget what your hands are doing and then...
To focus on your hands and forget your feet
To feel awkward and stiff
To be uncomfortable in your uniform
To have a timid kiai
To have to figure out how to tie your belt
To try to practice at home only to realize you skipped a few moves
To spar for the first time
To test for 9th kyu
As a beginner student of Tai Chi, I am regularly reminded of how challenging the early stages of learning can be. Every once in a while think back and remember how it felt...