Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Day at a New Dojo

Last night, I attended my first class at the BCIT Shorinji Kan Jiu-jitsu dojo. The first class of anything is usually a little stressful in that there are always new training methods and patterns of behaviour to learn. It was a bit easier for me though due to my several previous experiences training in this style.

Kevin, the usual instructor, unfortunately, was not available to teach last night so Chris (my right hand at my own dojo) and Jon, his old Sensei from Ottawa who just recently moved to Vancouver, took over the class.

Since it was the start of a new semester for the dojo, there were a handful of new students starting for the first time. Some were naturally a little tentative and nervous, having never trained in a martial art before. But I remember my first time stepping on the mats as a newbie. If it's anything like what it was like for me, there was also an underlying excitement.

Beyond the techniques themselves, new martial arts students are exposed to a different, very foreign seeming type of etiquette and code of conduct. The training environment in the martial arts, particularly traditional schools, is usually very different from anything they've ever experienced.

Myself, I always enjoyed the dojo training atmosphere, which emphasizes discipline and mutual respect, something that is absolutely required when doing potentially harmful techniques on each other. If there is no trust, there is no learning.

For me, of course, none of this was new, though there were slight differences to the formalities. It was still satisfying to put on my dirty, old white belt and absolve myself of instructive responsibilities, looking out only for my uke's and my own personal safety. The only thing I have to do there is train. What a great feeling, even if it was the last 1.5 hours of a 6-hour training stint. :P

1 comment:

Tim said...

I went through this exact experience last week when I went to try out a Judo club. The same, but different. And putting on the white belt is a great feeling and also very humbling.