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So it has been a long two weeks of running, jumping and crawling (don’t ask) but I have really enjoyed my time with the parkour group here in Wellington. The question that needs to be asked is....what is parkour?
Running Krav Maga got me working mostly with adults however the launch of the Taekwondo classes has once again got me working with kids. The last couple of weeks I have been working with the school kids of Rotorua Intermediate School promoting my school, and teaching basic Taekwondo and self defence moves. The energy and enthusiasm of the youngsters was tangible and to nurture and cultivate ability in people of an apt age to start martial arts training is one of the most rewarding experiences for any instructor in my opinion.
The hike 2.0
This has been a very rough start to the year for my hitching adventures. The plan was to go to places around New Zealand teaching and learning Martial arts as I go but this new found freedom ran into a few problems along the way. Timing, no one wanting to appear on camera, troubles with my laptop and mobile internet. However like most problems I have in my life all it takes is a little bit of training to relax the mind and find the solution.
Circle Of The Earth
Working with school kids has presented new opportunities for me as well as challenges. There is the organization and business savvy from running a martial arts school specializing in two distinct styles. There is the challenge of teaching kids survival skills from my favourite sport, teaching a new discipline as well as lecturing about being good citizens and never using the skills taught to them in the wrong way.
I have often wondered why some people seem to be natural-born victims. I think a lot of it comes down to denial. Denial is based on the trait of self-delusion. Many refuse to believe in the imminence of approaching injury or the possibility of their own death at the hands of some perpetrator. Often we look at others through our own eyes and often we cannot accept the fact that others may not see and feel the same way as ourselves. It is naïve not to realize that there are different people who think differently. Before the world was exposed to the horrors of the Holocaust there were those would refuse to believe in a network of murder factories killing Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, communists and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
So week three has finally come and gone and a pattern in my training has emerged. I seem to have a fear of commitment (way too many jokes come to mind....ok ok just one “that’s what she said”). You see in parkour a lot of the movements are designed to continue your momentum. So that as you approach the obstacle the vault movement is nothing more than the next step from your last. The timing, distancing from each step doesn’t change this means slower you go the harder it is to achieve correct technique.
One of my students asked me about respect and whether he should refer to me as sir. I am not particularly touchy how a student addresses me. I have been called sabonim, sir, instructor, Dave; to me it makes no difference. As a martial arts instructor I know that etiquette and respect cannot be taught. The way I carry myself and conduct my teaching is how I show etiquette and respect. Over time I can endower respect but it is not something that can be enforced in my opinion. Respect is something that comes from the heart.
I was away working on a New Zealand Ministry of Health project. I had checked into World Wide Backpackers hostel on the Terrace, in the heart of Wellington, for 2 weeks. On the weekend of the rugby 7’s tournament the landlord, by the name of Andrew Manson, told me that I had to leave the accommodation. He told me that if I do not leave the accommodation immediately he would call the police. The landlord did not give me a reason why I had to leave or a reasonable amount of time to pack all my belongings and did not refund me.
I am very fortunate to have an acute perception of people and cultures having lived and worked in several different countries. I have taught martial arts to white, African American, Latino, Asian and Polynesian people. I have had kids with special needs; I have had people with brain injuries train under me. Whatever difficulties anybody had I was able to develop their potential and help them achieve their goals in martial arts. To develop the character and sensitivity to be able to work and adapt to different individuals is not an intrinsic skill, it is something that can only be developed through experience.
This from Rick Wilson's site: "Zen Body-Being: An Enlightened Approach to Physical Skill, Grace, and Power” by Peter Ralston with Laura Ralston.