A Letter to Myself

Dear Tonya,

First of all I would like to tell you that you will not always enjoy being in this position, quite often you will be irritated when someone tells you to do something.  Don’t eat too much cheese.  Take lots of naps.  Consider all advice given to you on the mat (forget who the source is) and decide for yourself what it is worth.

Training hard is often fun, but to keep your sanity train with someone who enjoys learning and has a good attitude.  If someone makes you angry enough to become upset even after class is over, avoid training with them.

Spend time talking with members after class.  It’s a good way to make freinds.

I know you’ve learned to separate your anger and your technique, so you don’t injure people who frustrate you, but do not allow anger to close your mind.  Most advice has merit even if the source has less skill than you.

Do your best not to let your mind wander while a technique is being demonstrated.  Its pretty embarrassing to go first in line and not know whats going on.

Don’t wait to be confused when teaching a beginner.  Ask Mike what you’re supposed to teach them.  If they have trouble with front rolls, abandon those and focus on back falls and techniques that use back falls. Don’t use terms like ki, extension, or center when talking to a beginner.  These words are meaningless to them.  Use concrete language refering to each individual step they must take to complete a technique.  “Move this leg now, keep your arm straight, bend your knees.”  Most of all be patient with a beginner, they appreciate this more than your ability to throw them hard.

If you have the energy, train with a black belt or high ranking kyu.  Make your goal in each class to improve some small thing in your technique.

You’re going to lose weight gain some muscle and eat a lot.  You probably already know this, but you’re going to need a smaller size in jeans.

Tonya, the uchi deshi