zondag 29 november 2015

Don't Think...

 Six weeks ago, around mid-October, I underwent surgery on my right knee. Managed to postpone it for many years but at some point I had to face the music. Even the simplest movements were challenging and that is not ideal when teaching kungfu. So one might say my future kind of depended on whether or not to have surgery and it did not take me long to decide. I was scheduled to see physiotherapist three days after surgery to start rehab but that did not work out since I was displaying symptoms not so common after this kind of surgery. A huge fluid built-up and nightly fevers slowed recovery down but to make a long story short, after one week therapy finally started and I looked forward to every appointment but somehow I cannot shake the feeling that doc is not completely happy about progress….
Disappointment clouded my face and doc hurried to say that the knee “looks good”! Made up my mind to stop being overly cautious and push myself a little more.

I always enjoy the sessions but today’s left me in a particular mood. Not because of my progress being on schedule or not but because of the conversation me and therapist had.
As I was lying on the table and being “tortured”, we started talking about this and that, the upcoming holidays and the buzz and fuzz that comes with it. Conversation is always pleasant but this time, something he said hit a spot and it kept me busy all the way home and sometime after. Like, you know it already but don’t need someone to remind you? Or was it that of all the people in the world he was the last one you wanted to hear it from? Or simply because you hate defense being penetrated?

It started when I asked the doc for a letter for company doctor in order to keep them informed on my recovery and whether or not I am fit to resume duties. To be honest, I don’t feel like working anytime soon and frankly wouldn’t mind if I get sacked since I haven’t received a single postcard wishing me a speedy recovery or whatever. If I do hear from them it is to see how soon I can start working again…
The therapist then asked: ”can you not teach fulltime?”, to which I replied that in fact I am, teaching 6 days a week.
“Can you not find another job?”, he said.
“Well, that is not so easy, there is a reason why I ended up doing cleaning jobs”, I replied.
He: ”what about sponsoring [for the school]?
Me: ”been there, done that”.
He: “but maybe you should try using your students and their contacts, you know, some of the rich students”
Me: “……….”[speechless]

Finally I was able to reply that I don’t live in that part of the city where the rich reside. By then, it painfully hit me that in his world the idea of having to do a cleaning job, doesn’t even excist!
If you have certain qualifications, you do certain jobs right?
At that ver y moment I think we both realized how far apart our worlds are….the conversation stopped.
I never think about it, let alone talk about the fact that being colored makes a difference.
Of course I know it but I refuse to have that thought interfere with what I am doing or how I am as a person, a human being. There are martial arts teachers who teach fulltime with no extra job on the side and someday  maybe it will happen for me too. Not so long ago I had a Chinese master visiting the school and he was very happy with what he saw and of course that made me feel good but then he said: ”I know why you don’t have many students…you are not Chinese and also female…”
I could see it pained him to say that but it is the truth. His words however never got me the way they did during that therapy session.

I have seen fellow teachers gotten frustrated by the “disadvantages” that come with the color of the skin, to the point of giving up but the funny thing is, when you are really passionate about what you do there really are no disadvantages.
With that in mind, thinking of my school and the students makes me happy and I am extremely grateful to those who believe in me and share the same passion and are unaware of the boundaries stated above. I know of a master who goes by the saying: “think…train…smile…” and I sort of made it my mantra but for now I will try: “don’t think…train…smile”.


2 opmerkingen:

  1. It's a honor to teached by such a great and inspiring shifu as you. Greetings Faried