My mate got a very special get-well card today... from my dad.
That was really special to me.
Another dear friend told us that we were "better than the sum of our parts" and I made some joke about the "parts" now including titanium, cobalt steel and high-impact plastic... thank goodness there's two of us with different approaches and varying blind spots. Sure, these things make us crazy from time to time, but mostly we have a lot of fun, and we really do dedicate ourselves to making each other better people.
One of the the things he's done is have me teach our martial arts group.
My methods, in the right circumstances, are very collaborative and responsive.
Our main student, my kohei, is one of those "fast movers" physically, and pretty damn sharp between the (one cauliflowered) ears to boot. We are a great complement: He studied judo and wrestling at a very young age and was very good. I had a 10-year alley cat's pedigree in aikido before I came to jujutsu. I also studied wing tsun, kenjutsu, judo, Yanagi Ryu jujutsu and a handful of aikido styles. I'm not good at it, I just enjoy it.
Part of this is to help bring M into teaching, so when he's on a roll and has a good idea, I wave him up and give it a try for myself. He's very logical and patient, as a devoted parent and, in former times, a senior enlisted guy, so his ability to give instruction clearly is well developed.
I don't mind a bit taking instruction from him, I don't work in such a hierarchical way, and he never hesitates to listen if I have a point as well. It's a beautiful sempai-kohei relationship, we keep each other on track, challenge each other to the best of our ability, and rely on each other's strengths.
Our "senior newbie" has bonded beautifully with M, they both speak the same native language and M has adopted this kid as his own project. It really shows in the the kid's development
I stand in an interesting place as a kind of fine-tuner. Not having grown up physically graceful or adept (quite the contrary, apart from native strength and cunning) I can really break things down for new folks. I also still suffer from fear of falling, and every hip throw can be an act of bravery for me. One of the things Rolfing did for me was to take away the pain of falling on my left side, so the experience is so much less traumatic now. I can be quite phlegmatic about ukemi now, unless CG is throwing me...
Our other newbie is a beautifully focussed young lady who is still in the willowiness of her teenage years, but has such a hard edge behind her soft and slender beauty, that I can only hope to lend to her the soft owl feathers of my teacher's style. Owls, to me, are icons of budo. They are unassuming, round, soft and maybe a little funny looking, but if you're a rat, rabbit or skunk, the story is a different one. Whooo, Meeee? ;-}
So I step on the mat, and I know it's my show.
It's not CG's show.
I can't do his show.
Just last night I curled up with the cat, bad microwave popcorn, and an excellent German beer (gift from our redneck freak trucker Bavarian neighbor), and watched Snake in the Eagle's Shadow. I feel a lot like Jackie Chan's moron character, taking in (and taken in) by a kindly stranger.
I, too, have kind of bumbled along, and just happened to bump into someone who could help me help them.
It's the best thing, for lucky fools like me.