Tuesday, November 8, 2011


In my previous post, I mentioned as well as shared with you the homework sheet Chad and I were given a few weeks ago. The purpose of this sheet is for us to log training hours. You see, in order to progress from one belt to the next, the International Combat Hapkido Federation (ICHF) requires a minimum number of hours spent training, simply to ensure students are truly ready to advance before they do so. If Chad and I were merely to count the hours we actually spend at Equa Do, the path to our next belt would be impossibly long. So filling out this worksheet allows us to give our instructors documentation of the time we spend working, and have it count.

When I received the worksheet, I was very excited. To me, being given homework means I can be trusted to train without the direct supervision of my instructors. Chad, on the other hand, was much more resistant. As soon as we had come home from training the first night we got the sheets, he immediately began to complain that the expectation that we complete training hours in our spare time is unfair. I suppose it is, when one is so used to being handed things for little to no work simply because one has a disability.

Unfortunately for Chad, when it comes to training, we are treated like every other student at Equa Do. I reminded him of that, and when he whined that it was too much with school work, I was actually kind enough to call Sensei and tell him that Chad was struggling to accept the task he had been set. Sensei cut down the workload, and reminded us that the minimum we were absolutely required to do was three additional hours per week. Furthermore, Sensei said that the workout did not have to be done all in one sitting. In other words, the stretches could be done if we were bored in class, as they are fairly unobtrusive. I occasionally use my Hapkido homework as my physical warmup in theatre class, and then merely do the work with my crutches and weapon when I get home. In other words, there are options.

Despite these concessions, as soon as I was off the phone Chad made it clear that he did not intend to follow Sensei's instructions. He told me he would be filling out the sheet to make it look like he had completed the requirements and he expected me not to speak up and tell that I knew otherwise. I cautioned him, saying his right to test was on the line as it was, and that if he showed such blatant disrespect for his instructors, he would be stripped of his white belt and possibly told he should not continue coming to Equa Do. His arrogant response was to tell me that Master Eric would never let that happen, and even so, what rule said he had to listen to me?

This is where I lost my cool. Firstly, while Chad and Master Eric do have a good rapport, I know for a fact that he will not allow any student to test who is not ready, nor will he tolerate such disrespect. And as for why Chad has to listen to me, the answer lies in the hierarchy of the belt system. Obviously a person of a higher belt than the one you currently possess must be respected unless the instruction given would put you in harms way. But when two martial artists hold the same belt rank, seniority is granted to the one that has been studying the martial art the longest. In the case of Chad and myself, that would be me. I know part of the reason he struggles so much with accepting this is that I am a female, as well as younger than him but that really is no excuse. He even, at one point, told me he was deliberately trying to fail so that I would have no ride home from class (if he got kicked out) and would be unable to continue studying. He also seemed to think that course of action would cause my relationship with Sensei to deteriorate.

As painful as this conflict was, it is now resolved. Even so, Chad has been doing almost no supplementary training, so we will see where this leads.


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