Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Rock, The Pond, The Ripples

The ripples, those expanding circles caused by tossing a rock in a pond of water, represent something about becoming a master teacher of the martial arts.

You are the rock; your education is the pond. The point at which the rock enters the water is when you start learning and teaching –and each expanding circle represents a deeper understanding of the pond, which also represents life.

The first ripple happens at the rock’s entry point and then travels out from it. That’s what happens when you learn something; it starts within you; you immerse yourself in it, and then it moves out from you, expanding to include or affect a wider circle of people.

At first it includes people you know and interact with, but later it expands to include people you don’t know.

Beyond the people you don’t know are the people yet to be born.

POINT: At the highest level of teaching intent that I can conceive, the teacher is aware of herself, her students, and her effect on her community, the world, and the world of the future.

The Native American Indian tribe known as the Iroquois had a law that said, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."

This concept, I believe, represents the awareness that a martial arts master teacher —a real, genuine, evolved master –must operates from. He or she may have started training for self-centered reasons, but as the practitioner’s consciousness and awareness expands so does an understanding of what is most important to teach, take action upon, and then leave behind.

At the center of the circle a knife hand block and a vicious counter-punch might be all that is important. The circle that has traveled a foot from the center might represent personal energy, vitality, and stamina –which, in the context of a man or woman’s life, are all key ingredients to a good life. Farther out is the practitioner’s family, and he or she prays that they are gifted with health and happiness; somewhere beyond that comes community, state, nation, world, and all future generations.

Teaching for Seven Generations
When you next walk out on the mat to teach a class, think of what you can impart that will have value for the next seven generations. At the center of your consciousness are the benefits of the physical exercise you’re giving your students. Then, expanding out from those things that directly improve their bodies, think about what they might think –to be equally healthy of mind. Then, think about what you might inspire them to take action on –and how those things might directly improve their relationships. Expand that thinking to include ideas you can teach that reach out and make the world a better place, better for people living in it today –and for those who will occupy it tomorrow.

You might see your own martial arts education in the ripples made by a rock thrown in a pond –but it is not only YOUR education that is important, it is what happens at the farthest reach of your influence that take you from being a martial arts instructor –to a Master Teacher.

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