Scenes from the Dojo: Volume 1

January 14, 2017 by Rieshy

After leading a kid's class last Thursday one of the student's grandmothers commented that I looked like I was having fun out on the mats.  And that would be because I was.  I do a lot of not laughing while at work.

Scene 1:
I have a line of young Little Dragons doing kicks against X-ray paper. The sound of a kick against x-ray paper is highly satisfying. I'm working with the cutest curly-headed blond five-year-old ever, who is the size of a grasshopper with the fierceness of a lioness. Over her head I see that the boy behind her is doing the required jumping jacks in line when suddenly he freezes as if startled, puts his hand into his gi jacket and pulls out his hand with pinky and thumb extended.  He resumes one handed jumping jacks while speaking into his hand.

I yelled, "Switch," and the blond ran to the back and the boy hopped one legged and one armed jumping jack toward me and then went into a one armed guard stance, still speaking into his other hand.  I leaned in to him, "We don't allow students to take phone calls while on the mats."

"OH, I'm so sorry," he said, "It's just my boss."  Then into his hand, "I'm sorry we'll have to talk later."  He closed his pinky and thumb  imaginary flip phone and tucked his hand carefully back into his gi.  Then with a huge kia and a very serious face he jumped back into proper guard stance and executed extremely focused kicks.  Not laughing is sometimes part of the job.

Scene 2:
I wasn't leading this class, so the story involves some theft- but I did witness it.  Once again Little Dragons (otherwise known as kittens wearing black gi) were gathered sitting criss-cross around the Lead Instructor.  This was a group of very serious small ninja kittens, so they were all sitting straight-backed and still with their hands in fists on their knees, looking straight at the Sensei.  All except one.  His hands were on his knees, but they were board straight with his thumbs tucked in.  The Lead Sensei's eyes went to his hands and paused for a split second.  Immediately the Little Dragon felt compelled to explain, "I upgraded my hands to knives; I don't have fists anymore."

The adults all paused.  The other Little Dragons paused and without shifting or a hair moving suddenly sprouted knives on their knees too.  Knives are cooler than fists.

Like I said, not laughing is sometimes part of the job.

But smiling? Smiling is a large part of the job- and I love it.


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