Years ago when Shihan Pocholo and I were having some light conversation at the ante-room of the Honbu-dojo, these parents together with their small boy came in for the boy’s scheduled session.
Having spent most of my days waiting on similar occasions for my son Sonny, I shared my observation about the other boy to Shihan, without directly referring to the boy.
I sort of stated that it seems some boys are too young to be introduced to the rigorous training of Karatedo. As I’ve observed, some parents of this young children seem to be “using” the dojo like a temporary “care-center”of sorts by just leaving their children and fetching them up later.
I didn’t share with Shihan my foreknowledge that the parents have told me; that they really don’t expect that the boy would develop the interest in Karatedo and that they believed that the future would be much brighter and economically rewarding if later on they would have their son be tutored in Golf, than any other sports.
That boy earned his rank-promotions then stagnated after earning his purple-belt.
Through couple of years of nonchalance and disinterest, the boy seems to take more of the Sensei’s time during the practice sessions; in order that he doesn’t make himself a nuisance or a distraction to the other Karatekas who have been showing more dedication and focus on the trainings.
Having hinted that practice of some parents and the resulting disinterest of the son, I ventured a rhetorical question to Shihan, that given a situation wherein it is obvious that the advancement of the student stalled and that the parents doesn’t seem worried or concerned; would it be preferable for Shihan to advise both the parents and the boy, to completely stop attending the sessions?
Shihan answered that, “As long as the parents are willing to pay for the tuition of the boy, the dojo and the Senseis are committed to prepare the lessons and trainings and that he cannot by all means tell the boy to quit.”
I felt dumbfounded for a moment thinking that Shihan’s reply was based on economics. He then poked me in return that as an “old-school karateka” I might have missed the relevance of “Satori” in this situation. That he could care less about what the parents are up to but everytime the boy is “entrusted” to the dojo, the boy is entitled to get the best possible instructions, trainings and safety.
Shihan further explained that “What if tonight, the boy experienced “Satori” or an Enlightenment and told himself that starting tomorrow, he decided to double all his effort and resolve to make a better-man out of himself; that boy will strive more that all our expectations and even his parents can’t make him quit. And tomorrow, whenever that tomorrow happens, we are here for further guidance and training.”
That same conversation with Shihan Manuel Pocholo Veguillas inspired me to turn it into an artwork and highlight “Satori”. It was presented to Shihan in behalf of the parents, commemorating the 40th anniversary of AAK. And is still on display at AAK Honbu dojo.
To Shihan, Bow!