Daily Archives: April 1, 2014

Nothing But Good

Eating lunch in between a video edit session and an afternoon editorial meeting, I sit analyzing the upcoming evening’s training, wondering whether I should take my daughter to the gym to self-train with me, or if I should join her in regular upper sash class.  If I didn’t have to consider my girl, no analysis would be needed.  I’d be going to the gym.

I got a step closer today to working there with the Kids’ Club, when I found out that they’re actively trying to gauge interest among member parents for a children’s kung fu class.  That’s not the least bit definitive, but it was a step enough in the right direction that I had to suppress my urge to jump up and down in the office hallway.

I wrote last week in “Inner Circle” that I’m at peace with the change in my status at the guan.  However, as evidenced by last night’s post, I still take issue with some of the things said to me in the process of executing that change.  Hell, I take issue with many aspects of my Sifu’s perspective on interacting with people.  There.  I said it.

But enough, already.  Sifu’s living in my head rent free, and that’s not space, time or energy I want to give up without being paid.  It feels like I need more distance.  It feels like that would be nothing but good for me.

I think tonight is my last Tuesday upper sash class.  Unless I want to spar, Saturday will become my only day at the guan.

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For Free

“I do this for free, you know,” I remember him saying while scolding me. I nodded repeatedly, careful not to show any hint of what I was thinking, namely:

Of course I know you do this for free! So do I! We all teach here, and help keep the place up, and put up with conditions we don’t like – for free! We do it for the love of kung fu, the school, its history and each other. Isn’t that why you do it?

If anyone else had been angrily condescending to me the way Sifu was with that comment, I would have actual said all that I only thought in that moment. I’ve thought of it often over the last few weeks, as I remained on the teaching sidelines while several instructors were absent, due to family illnesses, business trips and vacations. I’ve happily covered for folks in the past. I changed my schedule with the job that actually does pay me when Sifu asked me to switch to help with the early classes. And he thought he needed to remind me that he does this for free.

I can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking when he says that, what it really means to him that he runs a kung fu school without being paid.  It doesn’t seem to be said with pride as much as indignation… when it doesn’t need to be said at all.