Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Discipline of Patience

As a traditional martial artist, I sometimes get angry over the lack of patience martial artists display. Children are usually the number one culprit, but, I've seen adult practioners impatient as well.

A number of months ago, while watching my oldest son during his TKD class, some of the students for the next class began "acting up". They were told twice by the instructor to stop or they would be doing push-ups during their entire class time.

They kept on misbehaving regardless of the warnings. When the instructor finished my son's class, she came over and disciplined the students for their improper behavior. The disorderly students enjoyed an hour's worth of push-ups and situps.

In another situation, I was a student of Kendo for 2 years (some 18 years ago). Kendo ("Way of the Sword") was taught by members of the local Japanese embassy. The sensei was teaching us strikes to the helmet, or men in Japanese.

Two adult students began acting up during the technique demonstration. They failed to pay attention. When it came time for them to practice their strike on the sensei, they hit him with a full-force strike to his head with their shinai. Thankfully he was wearing his head gear.

After these two students completed their technique, they began celebrating that they were the only two in class who could hit the sensei. As you could already gather, they weren't supposed to. If they had been listening and patient, the sensei wouldn't have gotten his bell rung. The other Japanese sensei, in the class, came over and thrashed the two students for their foolishness.

Patience is a skill that takes time to learn and should be practiced daily. I'm not perfect, but I do believe martial artists should try to understand and display the discipline of patience.

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