I’ve been involved in martial arts for many years. First as a student of course, than an instructor, than a school owner and instructor. Years ago I taught a class. It was a great class. We had children, a senior citizen or two, numerous family groupings. It was a high energy and positive group of people. I always said and I still say it, no matter how I felt when I went to class, I always felt better when I left.
I often think back to that class. I got a little nostalgic today for that class when I thought about the boy in the mirror.
The dojang (training hall) was lined with mirrors. Full body mirrors that came in handy when you wanted to practice techniques and wanted to see what you were doing. Which often proved to you that you were not doing what you thought you were doing. The mirrors were there for TKD practice. Most people totally ignored them unless they were using them for something specific.
But for one little boy.
He loved the mirrors.
Or he loved the little boy in the mirror looking back at him.
We had fun watching him. He could absolutely not pass them without watching himself. He looked while he worked out. He looked as he walked past them. He went up to them to look in them if he was bored. He was always looking. He was looking so much that it started to be a problem for his training. Though it was humorous to watch, it was difficult to keep him focused.
We finally found some burlap material and covered every single mirror. Because the boy in the mirror was not as important as the boy on the floor. It worked. Not that he didn’t ever pull them back to look. And not that we didn’t pull them back sometimes to train.
But we wanted to focus on him.
I sometimes catch glimpses of him on Facebook. But when I think of TKD and the good things it did for me I always think of the people before any other benefit. He represented so much to me and martial arts. He had family members who supported him, his mom was in class with him. I admired how he doted on his baby sister. I respected how he worked in class. He tried hard and was a good student and a good kid. He was a very good part of a very good group of people.
I thought of him, and that class, when I went to someone else’s class today. Memories came flooding back. And they were good.
And I wish I could get another glimpse of the boy in the mirror.