Roots & Branches

Last night, Shihan preceded our annual dojo holiday party with a special class that included youth and adult students from all of the different arts at the dojo. I believe this is the first time he has taught a class like this, and there was a satisfyingly large turnout. It was fun to see everyone interact, and I especially enjoyed working with the kids (there were tons of them!).

It was really great to see so many Sensei from all the arts, especially since I’ve been away for awhile, but even with a broken wrist I was not free from attempts to pull me in their direction. From one’s reminder to “not forget where your home is” (Karate) to another’s observation that “if you were a Judoka, you would know better than to stick your arm out to catch yourself when you fall”.  That particular Judo Sensei also likes to corner me when I’m trying to leave the dojo after Jiu-Jitsu, and say things like “Where do you think you’re going, don’t you have another class to go to?”  One time I told him I couldn’t stay for Judo because I was going to my mom’s for dinner, and he said “Give me her number, and I’ll call and explain why you won’t be there.”  Sometimes it feels like I’m a tug-of-war rope! I am actually very honored that they enjoy having me as a student, and I would attend every class full time if I could.

I am one of only a handful of students who currently train in more than one art at the dojo, so most of them don’t get a chance to interact with people from the other disciplines, which made this class even more special. My dojobro, Iron Fist Ken, does train multiple arts, and he was wearing his black belt last night, which confused one of the young Judoka, who asked me “Why does Ken have a black belt, I thought he was a brown belt?”, to which I replied “Well, he’s a brown belt in Judo, but he’s a black belt in Karate.” The kid said “Woah!”, and then I told him “Yeah, and he has a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu, too.” The boy was rightly in awe.

The red rectangle on the base of the tree?  That is a brick.
Shihan recommends “If all else fails, throw a brick and run”.

I think Shihan’s main goal with this class was to bring us closer together as a family, and to encourage cross-training. He often refers to the tree that is painted on the sign outside of our dojo; the branches represent the different arts, but they all sprout from common roots. They’re all part of the same thing. I believe Shihan is trying to encourage everyone to swing across to the other branches and visit from time to time.


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