Monday, November 2, 2015

Illuminations 11.2.15


Children Have Amazing Spirits

Little known piece of information, or beaten down fact of life, or stain that I can’t wash off my hands depending on who you’re talking to, I used to be a competition martial artist. I’d say a little over ten years of my existence was spent practicing at least two hours a day in schools all over Staten Island and then going all over the country to compete in competitions once or twice every month. It doesn’t show, I know.
I mean, look at me.
If you don't believe me, there are a ton of videos my father won't hesitate to show everyone.

That's me in the black gi.

In the latter part of my career I ended up teaching children Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Kick Boxing at my uncle's school in Bay Ridge. Once or twice a week I'd hold a class, teaching kids how to punch and choke each other. I know that doesn't sound so safe and a lot of people would say that it might be a bit too tough for kids, but [we had protective padding so it's cool] kids are surprisingly strong, especially when they really want to do something. They have these weird powers that allow them to take on any task. I feel like those powers have to do with the enthusiasm that they have when they tackle anything. Like, when a kid sees something cool they'll aspire to that something without any restraints and that's what's amazing: they don't hold themselves back.

I don't want to say that this only applies to my kids, because I want to believe that all children have this power in them, but every single lesson I taught was greeted by a stampede of these kids onto the mat ready to learn. Even when the weather wasn't that great and they'd come into the school soaked, they'd still have that excitement in they're eyes. You could tell that they wanted to learn everything I could teach them; some of them would even want to spend that last half of class sparring each other and myself to see how much they've learned. There's nothing like a kid asking, "Sensei, can you and I verse next?" and knowing that they want to fight you so that they could test themselves.

These are the same kid's I'd teach, performing their demo routine.

Sometimes I'm still at awe at how kids work. Most of the time I can't stand children, but when you see them do things that you didn't expect them to, you get this weird sense of happiness. I'm really glad that I had the chance to teach these kids in such an interesting environment. Not many can say that they've taught kids how to fight and few would admit that they were left amazed by their capabilities, but that's how my experience goes. 

Children have amazing spirits and its really important to know that and even more important to maintain it. Whether it be for yourself or for others, try to keep that unrestricted wonder that kids have. We often hold ourselves back from the things that we want for one reason or another and sometimes we just need to let it go (insert frozen gif).

Do You, 
Christian 

Bonus picture of me wrestling because I thought it was funny and couldn't fit it into the post:

I'll be honest, neither of us have control in this moment.

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