This week we had a visitor to out Dojo, a gentleman from a neighbouring club (Trinity Shotokan). On this particular evening we were being instructed by two Senpai (both 5th Dan) and there were about 5 other black belts ranging from 1st to 3rd Dan, as well as some coloured belts.
Our gentleman karateka visitor – and I say gentleman because he was just that – fit in like he was a regular. The class was fairly cardio-intensive with a good warm up, some combination drills up and down the floor and some up-tempo Ippon. An excellent class as usual.
Toward the end of the class the gentleman green belt, who was past what most would consider retirement age and yet obviously in impressive health, thanked everyone for their help and said that he felt like he had learned a lot from the session with all the black belts.
As I was walking out of the Dojo into the cool April evening I thought about that: who we learn from in the Dojo, and I was reminded of something. We learn from every person in there. This green belt hadn’t started on his Karate path until later in life and yet he had as much enthusiasm as anyone I’ve ever trained with, and in class he was completely eager and receptive to the instruction given by our Senpai. A hunger for knowledge and a passion for karate are keys to fulfilling karate, and he had them.
A lesson for all of us: When looking for knowledge in the dojo, don’t just look ahead to the higher ranks… look all around you.