by VShrews on 06/09/17
This past weekend, VShrews was proud and excited to send 7 first degree Brown Belts off to the Regional Black Belt test to earn their first degree Black Belts. All 7 students not only passed their test, but learned a little something about themselves, their fellow students, and apparently metallurgy?
Judan spoke about tempering, a metal heating technique applied to create toughness and elasticity by decreasing hardness and rigidity. Things that bend are less likely to break, he argued, and that's what gives a martial artist their strength. As Bruce Lee said, "Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind."
But it's not just our bodies that need that kind of flexibility. Our minds often need to bend as well.
Having listened in on some of the answers given to the Master Board on Saturday, I was happy to learn that the lessons we teach at VShrews really have been absorbed over the years. When we talk about how and why a technique works, how to assess one's own abilities and weaknesses accurately, what it takes to achieve one's goals, and even what kind of people we strive to be, our students are listening and learning and becoming exactly what we've been hoping for: the very best version of who they already are.
One of our students even said she liked her karate school because we accept her for who she is but push her to be what she wants to be. That's the kind of answer that makes us proud not only of our students but of ourselves. We're training black belts, yes, but in an environment that values all sorts of people for who they are, not for what we'd want them to be. There is value in diversity and our students prove that over and over again.
In order to create that kind of environment, we've needed to bend. We've needed to consider who our students were as individuals and what they needed in order to achieve their goals. We've even had to accept that not all of our students have the same goals. Some of us are on the path to Black Belt and above from the moment we begin our training. Others are looking for something within themselves that a strip of fabric can't provide. And while we, as instructors, can stand before a class as role-models of what hard work and consistent effort can provide, we cannot expect that every student wants or needs to follow our path.
So we continue to be proud and accepting of all of our students, regardless of rank or goal or achievement because joining us in any capacity is an opportunity for everyone involved to learn and grow and to be of some service to others.
We are so very proud of our new Black Belts. But we're so proud of the rest of our students as well. Whether you are with us for two months or a decade, we're honored and grateful to be part of your journey!
To see pictures of our every day hero students, scroll through our Facebook feed
where we update with new class pics every Monday.