Refection of AFROTC Training Event
There is something awe-inspiring about witnessing one
hundred and twenty-five individuals interact with someone that I have grown to
respect as a true leader. I came away
with many conclusions after observing Sensei Sukh Sandhu’s recent Leadership
and Close Quarters Combat Seminar for the U.S. Air Force Officers and Cadets of Detachment 643. Sensei’s words concerning leadership were
heartfelt and insightful. The cadets
were able to successfully progress in their abilities despite the small amount
of time allotted for the event. However,
after reflecting upon the evening, one realization stood clear as the most remarkable
to me. It was formed from the fact that
every person had a unique experience.
Some progressed faster than others.
All had specific strengths and weaknesses. However, certain patterns existed throughout the
group. What surprised me was that those
patterns mirror trends that I have seen during my short time in training in
Kobudo. It was this comparison of their
experience to mine that helped me look a little deeper into how I have been
spending the last several months at the Gi Yu Dojo.
I would assume that the cadets filed into the gymnasium focused
on the fact that they were going to receive instruction on a few basic
self-defense techniques. That was the
only thing I was concerned with when I started searching for martial arts
training. My plan was simple. First, I would find a place kind enough to
invite me to become a student. Then I
would hand them a monthly check.
Finally, I would be given a precise set of instructions that would allow
me to defend myself in the face of any aggressive confrontation. Practice those steps every now and then and I
would be prepared. It seems absurd now, not
to mention selfish and arrogant, but that is basically what I anticipated. Thankfully, the instruction that I have
received from Sensei Sandhu and the other members of the Gi Yu Dojo opened my
eyes and has surpassed anything beyond those shallow expectations.
A very elementary lesson that I have learned, that most
certainly took longer than it should have, is that before one can become
proficient (let alone good) at any technique, one must first have the resolve and
determination necessary for persevering through the discouragement born of difficult
times and the complacency that can accompany successes. Practicing the rigid mechanics of something
will not be enough if you want to truly understand what you are performing and
why you are performing it. In observing
a few cadets that participated in the seminar, I could tell that Sensei’s insight
into leadership, particularly how challenges are necessary for honing a
warrior’s edge and testing the resolve of a true leader, was personified as the
cadets progressed in practicing the increasingly complex techniques. I noted several instances where participants
would become discouraged from not “mastering” a movement right away, only to be
picked up by one of their peers and encouraged to continue. This occurs regularly for me as a beginning
student and I sometimes wonder if I would have continued past my more humbling
moments without the support of the Gi Yu Dojo members.
As another related point for comparison between my
experiences and those at the seminar, one cadet in particular noted near the
end of the evening that it is easier to be effective when both the tori and the
uke act with an appropriate level of intent and realism in their actions. As I mentioned, this took me a considerable
amount of time to realize and is something that I remind myself of several
times when training. I was first amazed
that this individual discovered it in merely a few hours, but later was even
more astounded when I realized that eventually every single person has to reach
that conclusion if they want to be successful in anything they pursue.
While I look forward to the immense potential of what is
available to learn from Sensei Sukh Sandhu and the other Gi Yu Dojo members, I
do my best to apply the basic lessons I have learned so far. Whether it is training in Kobudo, the daily
work involved with my career, or interacting with family and friends, I strive
to remember that nothing of value comes quickly or easily and that the best
results are produced when you act with intent, integrity, and the determination
needed to achieve something worthwhile.