At about 1:10 on Saturday afternoon, I engaged in embarrassingly age-inappropriate behavior. In a room full of people, all but three of whom were younger than I, I jumped up and down and clapped my hands like a six-year-old who’d just been handed tickets to Disney World. I was giddy, and I didn’t care who knew it. I trust the world is still turning.
“I learned something new! I learned something new!” I half whispered, half squealed to my better half, sounding as young to myself as the green sash who was backing out the door into the sunlight.
One might think that learning something new at a school is a normal state of affairs, but it’s not. The higher ranked someone is in our school, the greater the likelihood they’ve been working on just one or two forms for a year or more, as I have for eleven months. There is now something new to practice. But that alone wasn’t the source of the happiness that stayed with me all day.
Something akin to a flash mob sprung up at self-training, and it included every black sash in the room. A Siheng that we only see at holiday time mentioned that he was practicing a Xing Yi form a few days earlier. That’s a style that several of the more senior black sashes have wanted to learn for a while. Today was their chance, and it turned out to be infectious.
The Siheng training for national trials may have wanted a break from his exhausting routine. The most recently-promoted black sash may have been happy to conclude his sparring instruction for the green sashes. I may simply have wanted to give my knees a more manageable looking challenge. Whatever the reason, we all fell in line, one by one, before the mirror, behind Siheng B.
We looked, unchoreographed, as if we were practicing for a performance. In fact, we wound up with the sanshou class as our audience, as they awaited the floor space we occupied. The six of us were only able to learn a third of the form before being displaced, but that was enough to leave each of us with a smile, for we all now have a new itch to scratch.
It’s really the little things that make something memorable, being in the right place at the right time, being open to the unexpected and the unplanned. It’s taking advantage of the new when it’s offered, even if it doesn’t seem to have a practical application to the current lesson or game plan. It’s being okay with not acting your age when a moment truly thrills you. That’s what I gleaned from a twenty-minute block of time on Saturday afternoon. And it simply left me giddy.