Remembering Our Roots

It is sad at times, to find not only students but instructors that forget from whenst they came."

Over the years I have seen this happen from time to time -- more so with students than with instructors. Farr too often we get impatient with a student or students who are having trouble learning a basic technique or pattern. They seem to be holding up the rest of the class.

Like the tree, we all have roots. Let us remember these roots. For we were all Junior White Belts at one time. And in the beginning we all walked out on to the floor not knowing anything other than what we had seen at the movies or on T.V. All we knew was that they had something that we wanted. But our attempts to perform these very basic techniques of the lowly white belt were in vain -- they seemed to take forever to learn. The feet would not work with the body. The hands seemed to have a mind of their own. Judging distance was off by a mile. We ended up hitting someone or the punch or kick was way too far away; it made no sense for the opponent to block the punch or kick. But through many hours of trials and tribulations, we made it. Yes, we made another belt and began the task of learning more.

"My God, will my body ever learn how to stand, walk, fall, or jump the right way?" Our bodies did, and so one day we became a Black Belt.

So my students and instructors, when you are faced with a student having trouble learning something new and it seems like forever, remember "from whenst you came." You did not learn it overnight. It took practicing it time and time again. Like the tree, as the roots grow deeper into the ground so did the tree grow upward into the sky. If you watch a tree grow, it seems like forever for it to do anything. So too, it is a fact with students. Remember your first days on the dojang floor.

By Master Joseph E. Petty, VII Dan
Taken from the Green Dragon Dispatch, January 1, 1994