Arx Hereticus

Welcome to the ramblings of a merry heretic, an ex-pat (Tex-pat?) American living in Maryland after having spent six years in Germany. Arx Hereticus is part travelogue, part cooking, part budo, part socio-political commentary and mostly just me BSing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Story time

First off: Went to the doc for my 5-week checkup and all's well. Better than well, actually. I'm on crutches for a few more weeks (20kg max weight-bearing until Aug 31, then +10kg per week to full weight-bearing).

Now, the story:

1977 or '78. I was young, dumb and full of more testosterone and ambition than sense. I did something dumb and potentially dangerous. Papa-san found out about it. He didn't rant. He didn't raise his voice. He took me aside, a private tete-a-tete. He said, "I'm disappointed in you ..." and walked away.

I have no words to describe how devastated I was. He was that kind of guy. It was never mentioned again. I've lived with the force of that simple statement for these 30-some-odd (some VERY odd) years.

Many, many of the lessons he gave me (some of them not in any sort of class, just Papa-san being Papa-san and playing with grandkids, helping someone who couldn't help themselves, BEING there for people who needed someone there), not EVEN getting into the deliberate and specific lessons of budo and dojo he taught ... are still percolating and still being learned.

Even today, after 30+ years from way-back-then, I often walk onto the mat, try to teach and suddenly have an insight: "Damn. THAT'S what he was talking about!"

It's humbling.

He was that kind of guy. That kind of teacher. That kind of budoka. That kind of Papa-san.

Someday -- I can only hope -- some of my students will look back and think half as fondly of me as I do of him.