This beautifully written story is an important reminder to us all that in martial arts, the student teacher relationship is the basis of learning. The trust that must be present from student to teacher can never be underestimated. Without trust, there is no relationship.
The Real Meaning of Trust
Mr. Collin Lee was smaller and slower than all his classmates. On his way to school each morning the bigger kids would take his lunch, and after school they would push him into the dirt as they ran by him. To protect himself, Collin would avoid playing with the other kids and hide in his room, reading and surfing the net.
At night, Collin would go to www.bokfudo.com and watch the videos of the black belts in action. He dreamed of one day having the fighting skills of a Bok Fu Do black belt. Then one day he could beat the bullies, take their lunch, and push them into the dirt.
As it happened, Collin’s parents lived close to a Bok Fu Do school. Sensing their child was troubled, Collin’s parents brought him down to watch class.
Collin was in awe. He immediately started hopping around throwing punches and kicks and making swooshing sounds. His parents tried to quiet their enthusiastic boy down but it was too late – Grandmaster Lee and Master Buckley had taken note of Collin’s antics. At the approach of the Bok Fu Do Grandmaster and Master, Collin stopped dead in his tracks – he knew from his nightly visits to the Bok Fu Do website who these two giants were.
“Well, it looks like we have a future black belt here, Master Buckley,” Grandmaster Lee beamed.
“I believe we may,” Master Buckley agreed.
Collin, having picked up his jaw from the floor, looked at his parents pleadingly. “Can I learn Bok Fu Do? Can I? Can I? Can I?”
Collin’s parents, a distinguished looking couple, thought it over a moment and agreed.
“Yes!” Collin said, pumping his fists and feet and spinning a full circle.
When Collin finally came to a stop, Grandmaster Lee said, “Master Buckley, why don’t you work with our future black belt.”
Master Buckley nodded and made the arrangements with Collins parents.
Collin came in the next day full of expectations. His mother, always prompt, had him there ten minutes early. Master Buckley was winding down a lesson with another student. Collin bounced back and forth between his mother and the lesson Master Buckley was teaching. When Master Buckley finally finished, Collin nearly jumped out of his skin.
“Master Buckley! Master Buckley!” Collin chirped. “I want to learn the super kick you and Grandmaster Lee both did in the pictures – the one where you’re way up high in the air!”
Master Buckley patted Collin on the head and led him out onto the mat. But instead of teaching Collin the well-known Sun Moon Lake flying kick, Master Buckley taught Collin to stand in fighting stance with his guards up.
Collin, feeling that he was finally learning Bok Fu Do held the stance for a few seconds, but his legs and arms began to hurt so he stopped. Master Buckley patiently instructed Collin to get back into the fighting stance. But each time Collin lasted only seconds. Finally, Collin asked to learn something else but Master Buckley just had him go and stand again, telling Collin he was not ready to learn something new.
The next lesson with Master Buckley was the same. But when Collin thought Master Buckley wasn’t looking, he would get up out of his stance and let his arms drop for a quick rest. Collin was pleased at how clever he must be to have outsmarted the Bok Fu Do Master.
One day, Collin tried to resist one of the bullies. He had secretly and carefully been watching Master Buckley teach the advanced students while they learned the super flying kick. After a couple of hours of practice on his own, Collin was sure that he could execute the super flying kick to the bully and defeat him.
But before Collin could take flight, the bully punched Collin in the face, bloodying his nose. Collin, feeling humiliated, came to the Bok Fu Do School the next day and knocked on the office door. Master Buckley opened the door and upon seeing Collin’s puffy eyes and swollen nose, asked what had happened. Collin explained that a bully had punched him in the nose and made him bleed.
By this time, Collin was crying and complained to Master Buckley that he didn’t get to learn the super flying kick.
“What do you mean?” Master Buckley asked.
Collin explained in between sobs that he had watched Master Buckley instruct the advanced students and practiced the flying kick in secret. But, the bully beat him up anyway.
“Have you been practicing the fighting stance I taught you?” Master Buckley asked.
Collin replied that he had not. They were boring, and made his arms and legs hurt. “Can’t you just teach me the flying kick the way you and Grandmaster Lee do it?”
Master Buckley sighed and said, “If you want to learn the flying kick, then you must come every day and prove that you deserve to learn it.”
Collin was overjoyed, but Master Buckley continued, “To prove you deserve it, you must promise me that you will do all the exercises that I tell you, for as long as I tell you to do them. Do you understand?”
Collin was so happy to hear that Master Buckley was going to show him the flying kick that he agreed to the conditions without realizing what he had agreed to.
Collin studied every day after that incident and did exactly what Master Buckley told him. When his arms and legs would start to hurt, he would remind himself that he made a promise to Master Buckley and had to keep going.
As the weeks and months passed, Collin’s abilities began to improve. He was not the smallest and slowest in his class anymore, and since he was proud to be Grandmaster Lee and Master Buckley’s student, he no longer felt the need to hide from his classmates. As his self-confidence improved, the bullies stopped pushing Collin down and taking his lunch. Eventually, they began talking with Collin and played games with him after school.
Collin did not notice this change in the bullies, or his own behavior. He was too concerned with his Bok Fu Do practice and making his teachers proud – so much so that Collin no longer thought about taking revenge on the bullies.
Then, one evening, Master Buckley asked Collin if he wanted to learn the flying kick. Suddenly, Collin remembered why he had been training so hard in the first place. Full of understanding, Collin turned to Master Buckley and said, “I don’t need to know the flying kick, Master Buckley. But, if you show it to me, I will practice it.”
With a wink and a smile, Master Buckley began the instruction.