Encouragement Necessary

There are junior belts in class that I would prefer were not there.  This is because they are not as familiar with basic techniques and thus hold the class back.  A few of these students are actually at an advanced rank, but for various reasons struggle a bit in the advanced level classes.  There is a girl who fits this category.  She is 12, so she has joined the adult advanced class.  She gets confused and distracted easily and needs a fair amount of attention to make sure she is doing what the instructor is asking, which can be frustrating and time consuming for the higher ranking students.  This past weekend, she tested for her 1st Degree.  Friday, she passed our written test fairly easily, which was a relief.  She had struggled with a practice exam the week before.  She and all the other black belt candidates paired up with a fellow student and started calisthenics.  Her partner did not really encourage her to keep going, so she did not fair well and got quite upset when she heard that she would have to redo those calisthenics if she hoped to move on to the second round of the test on Saturday morning.  She and two others were told to come back to the dojang after completing the required three-mile run and try again.  She made it through the three-mile run with no issues and it was there that I learned that her family was not there.  She had been dropped off and left to take the test without the benefit of family members to cheer her on.  After she made it through the run, she got a ride back to the dojang with one of the instructors.  My mother, who was also testing for her next rank, suggested that we go back to offer encouragement since her family was not there to do so.  And we did.  She passed the calisthenics portions with time to spare and was shown the times after each accomplishment.  She had started to cry at one point, but kept going and was feeling considerably happier when she passed.  I still cannot believe her family chose not to show up that evening, though they were in attendance on Saturday.  Even the knowledge that family are there in support and cheering one on is often enough to keep a person going.  If a person does not have that support, it makes the journey much more difficult, and others have to step in and make up for that lack of support.  I had no problem cheering her on and telling her to keep going as she did push-ups or leg lifts, but her family should have been there, too.  She probably would not have had such a struggle if they had been.  She made it, though, and I look forward to seeing her continue her journey, even if she made need a little extra attention than others.


About emeree

I am an Air Force veteran. I served as a Security Forces troop for nearly seven years and reached the rank of Staff Sergeant before separating in 2008. My tours of duty were in England and Oklahoma. I live in the Seattle area, which is where I grew up. I used my GI Bill and earned a degree from the University of Washington. I currently work in downtown Seattle and experience all the adventure that comes with that.
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