One of our kids at the school, about 8 years old, was testing for karate rank advancement this past Saturday – some levels of advancement are bigger than others, and he achieved green belt, the level at which we start to teach them sparring. I was chatting with his mom as we walked to the desk to fit him in his protective sparring gear, and it came up that she plays the violin. Of course I shared that I’ve been back at it for almost a year and a half now too.
She was tickled and quickly turned to her son – “Did you hear that? Senpai [my karate title] Ryan plays the violin!” I got the distinct impression I was being used as a role model – this happens. I’m someone the boy looks up to who also does this thing that Mom loves that kid does but that on some days takes some coaxing. A major reason parents are interested in their kids training karate is, frankly, as an assist in the parenting department. To the extent that we provide a safe intergenerational learning environment that combines health and fitness and fun and discipline, I’m very happy to be a part of it – it’s definitely accurate to say “parents love us!” We’ve got about 275 kids to prove it.
I turned to this guy and said, “Are you enjoying the violin?” He smiled a new-braces smile and said, “I’m playing a mim….nmmnn….uet.” His mom filled in the gaps, “He’s playing the first Minuet in Suzuki book one.”
“Wow! I play that almost every day!” I told him. It’s a fun one but kind of hard, right?”
“Yeah.” Of course in this particular moment, his sparring gear is far more exciting than his minuet.
As I was working up the Gavotte by Mignon I wrote a post wherein I mention an ability to forge an instant bond with any Suzuki kid anywhere. Well, with this kid not only do I have Suzuki but I’ve got karate as well. We’re going to be great friends. As he walked out I reminded him to thank his mom for his sparring gear, and said, “Good luck on your Minuet!”
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