Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

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New Interests

Well I haven't really been making this public news, though I imagine a good number of folk already know this, but I've been taking kempo classes 3x a week for the past 5 weeks. I think part of the reason I've been hesitant to say anything about it is because I'm not sure how much time I'll have this coming academic year to actually keep it up, and I definitely don't want to be a quitter about it :P However, important revelations have been coming from my Kempo classes, important enough that I'd like to detail them here, so it's a secret no longer.

The dojo that I'm at teaches the RyuTe style of Kempo. Of everything in DC that I'll be leaving on Saturday, I'm going to miss it the most. I've found that Kempo is both relaxing and empowering, calming and energizing, focused yet incredibly expansive. Yesterday I was in a terrible mood - tired, pondering how angry the actions of someone else had made me, bored with work and generally pissed off. I wasn't sure whether I could even get up the right attitude to go into the dojo - I hate coming into these things feeling so bad. But the instant I put on the gi, and stepped onto the mat, I fell into the easy companionship that exists between all of the students. I found that when I sat there stretching, chatting with other students and waited for our class to start, I was already smiling more, laughing at what our sensei was making the little kids do in the class before us.
It was Sensei David's last day yesterday and he really worked us hard - tons of crunches, pushups, agility exercises, and good, long stretching exercises. As we did exercises to move us across the floor, we counted in unison as always: ichi, ni, san, shi, gou...and I forgot about my tiredness. All I wanted was to be able to do the moves correctly. We did a blocking exercise at the end with our hands open instead of in fists like we normally do and it felt much more natural to me. I felt it finally making sense, like I was at last "getting it." I was disappointed when the class ended.
We all took a pictures with Sensei David, and I felt like I was part of something important. Everytime I look at any of the black belts, I'm awed by the amount of discipline and work it took them to get there, and I find that their personalities really reflect the frame of mind that all of us are expected to cultivate - honest, sincere, humble, restrained, respectful and constantly striving for excellence. We all shook his hand, and I thanked him and said "it wasa pleasure" and he said "it was." And in that moment I think I really understood how teaching doesn't just affect students, but gives great honor to the teacher, too.
When I finally walked out of the dojo, I felt refreshed. I wasn't angry or tired. My mind was thinking about teaching and how I could apply the principles of inspired discipline to teaching ballroom next year. I forgave everyone for my day, and especially forgave myself.

At home I cooked mac & cheese and chicken that I ended up making a little too dry. I watched "Million Dollar Baby," but the ending annoyed me. Ah well. Matt is crashing at my place for the week while he researches his summer research project at the Library of Congress. It looks like it's going to pour today - today I shall pay the price for having lost my umbrella a few weeks ago. I admit that I love DC more when it's pouring rain than any other time.

I feel mostly hopeful these days. I feel things picking up for me and I like it; I find I have many new interests on the horizon in all parts of my life. I look to Saturday and all the unhappiness of the past two months begin to fall away, and I remember "life is good."
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