Saturday, September 17, 2011


Now that all of you know I have passed my white belt test, there are some changes in the wind where my training is concerned. Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, the difficulty of the training is going to be stepped up. This is because as a white belt, I am expected to have a working knowledge of the basics. Just a few short months ago, my response to a change like this would have been to spiral into panic and self doubt. Now, I find myself relishing the challenge. However, I am not foolish enough to become cocky. There is still a knot of anticipation, and a healthy sprinkling of apprehension, when I think about what lies ahead for me.

The next big change is the fact that I will no longer be working with Anthony in regular class on Tuesdays. Master Eric has created a special class for those of us with disabilities that meets on Thursdays starting this week from 7:30-8:30. I'm not too sure how to feel about this. Don't get me wrong, I love and respect Master Eric and I think his goal of training more of us with unique challenges to defend ourselves is more than admirable. It just sort of puts me in an odd spot.

What I mean is, for most of my life, I have been mainstreamed. Meaning that when I took classes, despite my disability, I was always grouped with able bodied students. While Hapkido is heavily physical, it is still something I know I am very good at. As a result, my anxiety is more than a little resistant and resentful of me suddenly being pulled out of the regular class and asked to train in this manner. Part of it too, is knowing that Sensei has enough trouble getting to Equa Do for his own class, and now in order to continue training me, he has to figure out how to come on Thursdays as well. It makes me feel guilty and I almost, ALMOST want to quit. Now, my anxiety is telling me that Master Eric doesn't care about me as a person, but only is aware of my disability. That's not true and the rational part of my brain knows it. Master Eric has asked me to make this change because if I do, the positive effects far outweigh the negative ones.

For example, I know from Sensei that Master Eric wants him to take over teaching "Handicapped Hapkido" (ugh. Maybe we need a better name?). What kind of adoptive "daughter" would I be if I wasn't proud of my Sensei for being asked to take on this special challenge? And also, Master Eric has experience working with others with disabilities and will know how to push and challenge me while making sure I stay at minimal risk for injury. Not to mention that Master Eric has already told me that this class is designed to hopefully bring other disabled individuals to the school to train. As a white belt, I will have seniority over new students that come in. This means I will have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to assist in the training of the other novices. Given my goal of reaching 2nd Dan, where I can become a licensed instructor, I am thrilled about this.

Finally, this change may actually help me in controlling my anxiety and the physical stress I inflict on my body when I train. Previously to this week, I was getting a private lesson from Sensei on Mondays, and formal training at Equa Do on Tuesdays. From an anxiety standpoint, this was not ideal because it meant I saw Sensei a ton at the beginning of the week and not at all at the end, meaning I didn't have actual contact to help stabilize me if something happened mid week. Also, training as long and hard as I do two days in a row is undoubtedly detrimental to my body's ability to handle fatigue. Spacing the training out will hopefully lead to less pain and exhaustion.

Now that I have typed all this out, and rationalized it, I see that the upcoming changes in my training likely won't be as bad as I think. It is my duty to trust my Master's judgement, and put everything I have into my training.

For now I will focus on that.


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