Monday, October 1, 2012

What is your On?

When I first started training many years ago I realized that I had to pay a monthly fee. I paid this fee for many years, thinking that in paying this fee I was paying for my instruction. I learned several years later that the fee I was paying covered some of the essential costs of the school, i.e. , electricity, heating, furniture, uniforms, rent and many of the other costs. The one thing that was not covered in my monthly dues was the cost of instruction. When I asked why(since I thought that was what the fee was primarily for) it was explained to me that there was no fee that could cover what was being imparted to me. I had just begun my training path and so I didn't entirely understand what was being shared with me.

 Now here I am, a little wiser and much older and I am beginning to see the wisdom of the words that were shared with me. What I didn't understand back then was that the instructors were fulfilling their "on". Their obligation or duty to pass on the knowledge that was given to them. No monthly fee could cover that because the knowledge, the patience, the nurturing, the inclusion into the structure of the school transcends any price.
When I recently spoke to several sensei I was asked what my On was. What was I willing to give my life to, my entire commitment to? Initially I thought the answer was easy- my family, my children. Then I realized that  was too narrow. It is understood that if we bring children into this world, it is our responsibility and duty to instruct, nurture and help them grow into capable responsible adults. My family could not be my answer.

After giving it more thought I realized that it had to be as it was with me. Those individuals that enter the school and become students and later instructors in their own right, all of those are part of my On. My question to you today is what is your On?
 For many of us, it is our parents who are now elderly and some may be infirm. For some it is giving of ourselves and our time to those less fortunate. Whatever it may be, I urge you to sit and discover what you can give back. Many of us feel that we are wherever we may be in life on our own merits or skill. I have discovered in my own experience that you can achieve very little of importance on your own. Every great endeavor and those not so great usually require cooperation and assistance of some sort. If you want to achieve great things you will need help, that is just the way it works.

Take some time to day and discover what your On is. Find out how you can give back, then take action.

strong spirit-strong mind-strong body
Sensei Orlando


Steven Veltema said...

Yet another great post Orlando!

No one no one student can absorb all the skills of their master so as teachers our obligation is not only to pass on what we were taught and what we have discovered for ourselves, but also to demonstrate the very act of walking the path together.

One way of demonstrating this is not to have fees, but only to make known the requirements of running the dojo, from rent and electricity, to cleaning and maintenance and each master or student contributes as they can either monetarily, repairs, drinks for the refer, or by simply cleaning the toilets every week.

リべラ 先生 Rivera Sensei said...

Osu Sensei,

This is a great entry or write up! The defining of memberships and what they really account for is wonderful. Too many do not understand what the fees cover; it is never about the teaching that imparted; that is always free.

The student to teacher relationship is sacred and that is the Ensō. I.e., the passing on of knowledge to the next person and so on.

I too believe that the Dōjō is symbolic of one's heart and the True Karateka. So, I am glad to read your feelings on it and that one should look inwardly with introspection to ascertain where their "on" is!

Osu Sensei!