Saturday, February 7, 2009

feel the pressure.

Years ago, I was working midnights and taking martial arts. I would show up around 6pm, which was when the kids class started. I did that because it gave me time to work out in the back of the class before the adult class at 7, mostly practice forms, and because if I didn't get up then and go, I'd be a sleep until 8:30. Just the way my sleep cycle worked. I'd wake up on my own around 5pm and either go back to sleep or get up. If I was up, I might as well do something.

After a while, they'd have me help in some capcity. I was only a low ranking orange belt (8th gup), but I was pretty good. They'd have me show the white belts forms. Show how to do falls (I'm good at those) and other things like that.

One day I showed up and the Master were not there. And the kids were running the class. The classes were taught at an old school, converted to a community center. I walked in and the janitor said he hoped I had a red or black belt hidden in my bag, because there were no adults there.

I walked in, and took control of the class. Asked if they had done things, and they hadn't. Things like bowing in and stretching. They took it upon themselves to get the heavy bag out and start there.

I took control of the class, no one argued. Not even those that out ranked me by 4 levels, the high ranking green belts (4th gups). The the first instructor showed up (the master that called me today, he was lower in rank then and not yet a master, or newly ranked as a master, I'm not sure now), and I turned the class over to him... The Head Instructor, The Master that was usually there at 6 for the kids class) showed up a few minutes later. He had been stuck in a traffic jam.

The master made a big deal, and I think part of it was for the parents, about I've been assisting and working with the kids for a while, I was really good, and for liability reasons if I was just a white belt, because I was over 18, that put me in charge since no one higher in rank was there. Being the adult, I automatically out ranked even the 16 yo black belts, if we had any. Again, just for liability reasons. That's when I really started working with the kids class, and I received my first double promotion shortly after that. (8th to 6th, but it's complicated they did away with the 8th gup rank when I was gone for several years and considered me a 7th gup orange belt, but that's not what my papers said).

Fast forward years later to today. I'm now a 1 stripe red belt (2nd gup). The Master that teaches the Saturday classes called me at 8am to tell me he wouldn't be there. He's been up most of the night sick. He said he didn't know who was going to show up, but I've been there pretty regularly lately. So as long as I, or the 3rd degree black belt, Marc are there, we can have class. Marc and his son (7th gup) are usually a little late, so I'll get the class started and turn it over when he gets there.

There have been times in the past, when they've asked me to be there at a certain time because they were going to be late. But this is the first time that they called me to say they won't be there and it's up to me. It's something my rank gives me the privilege to do, but it is still unexpected.

When I first told them about the Self Defense class to get permission to teach it, I said I didn't feel I had the right yet. They understood, and pointed out some of our Alaska clubs had red belts running the show until they could get a black belt. We have the Original Club in Allen Park Michigan, and 3 clubs in Alaska, with the Alaska head quarters being in Juno.

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