Sunday, July 15, 2007

New Student?

Quick congratulations to a brace and a half of new orange belts, first off. Three of our four yellow belts tested on Friday, and all did really well.

We have a new guy at the dojo. He's been to four classes so far, and it looks like he'll probably stick unless something goes wrong. It's a little different from the usual new student though. This guy's a san-dan (3rd degree black belt), and yes, it's in Isshinryu.

This is where it gets a little strange. Our new guy says his last promotion was in 1991. Since then he really hasn't done Isshinryu, though he's done some other martial arts on and off. Plus, during the interim, he sustained a major burn. One that's left him with substantial scar tissue on both legs, neck, and possibly arms.

Which puts him in a weird position in the dojo. He's a black belt, so he's up with Sensei, and there's no question he's earned his belt - the amount of knowledge stuffed into the corners of his brain is impressive. But at the same time, he's having to dredge deep to bring up the Isshinryu specific stuff. We've started him at Seisan and are working him back up, and even at the rate he's recalling stuff, it will be months before he's brought his knowledge base back up to the front. Plus he's having to relearn the actual motions as reworked for his body as it is now, which isn't easy. So in some ways he's senior to everyone but Sensei, and in others junior to all but the very newest students. It's got to be an awkward position for him, but he's handling it with grace and a good low-key sense of humor.

I hope he does stay. We could learn a lot from this one.

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