Sunday, January 1, 2012

There's Something Special About Sensei

THappy New Year to all of my readers around the world. As my 2012 begins, I find it impossible to avoid reflecting on 2011. 2011 was, as I said, the year I began my study of Hapkido and come so much further than I thought I would. But that progress would not have been made without my wonderful Sensei, Blaine Coplon. He has done so much to aid me in becoming the person I want to be and so this blog post is being written to honor him.

When I met Blaine he was immediately able to see the potential I had and made it clear that he did not intend to allow my Cerebral Palsy to stop me from learning Hapkido. Though I was unable to get to Equa Do for classes at first he made a weekly commitment to tutor me privately. In return, I made sure I never missed a lesson, and even though I do attend classes at the dojang now, the lessons on Mondays have become a tradition neither one of us want to lose. It truly has brought us closer.

A few weeks after I began training under Blaine, I felt comfortable enough to open up to him about the nine years of abuse I suffered at the hands and tongues of my parents. As soon as I began to open up, I also began to heal. It did not take us both long to realize that the years of damage that were done had prevented me from having much of a childhood and from being able to mature properly. I am still, in many ways, a young child and therefore in need of parenting, affection, and guidance. Senseis have the ability to take many roles in a student's life. It is lucky for me that Sensei was willing, despite the narrow age difference between us from a biological standpoint, to assume the role of my surrogate father.

He has done everything he can to repair the damage done by my parents, showing me that I am deserving of love and care. He has taken me on outings, encouraged me to treat myself to new foods and small presents when appropriate, and even sometimes allowed me to act younger than I am so that I can get away from the pressure of making adult decisions when I get too overwhelmed. Though his gifts to me are immaterial they mean far more than he realizes.

But my favorite thing about Sensei is how much passion he has for his job as my instructor. Once he was able to demonstrate to Equa Do's Headmaster, Eric Deveau, his unique ability to teach those with disabilities, Master Eric challenged him to become the instructor of a special class for the disabled. Though the class has very few students right now, Sensei has done a fantastic job of getting the students he has engaged in everything from deciding what techniques we work on in a given night to finding ways to get more students in and grow the class.

This blog post, is a simple way of recognizing all Sensei (Daddy) has done for me and so many others and I hope he gets the appreciation he deserves.