When March came around for the lockdown, I was not sure what to expect, just like everyone else. So many emotions and thoughts running through my mind that I didn’t even know what to think anymore. It felt overwhelming, like rolling with seasoned black belts and you just learned how to hip escape on your first day of class. Totally dreadful! But just like in training, when your plan doesn’t go your way and you feel like you are about to quit, all you need to do is relax, catch your breath, and solve the problem. I guess all those times my face was dragged across the mat really taught me something!
The other thing that really changed for me was when we were teaching online. Before all this I didn’t even know Zoom existed. I had to be an instructor, IT support and everything you can think of. I moved everything in my room, stuffed into a corner so I can make space for my teaching station. It was a new challenge. Teaching someone across the screen requires 10x effort from you to really make sure they understand your teaching and that they really have a great experience. So now picture this: you are teaching kids class and about half of the kids have blank face while they pick their boogers and there are cats and dogs running around in the background. Like I said, it required a lot of effort to make that class awesome. No kidding. I praise the parents who are schooling their kids online right now. After a while it felt normal. As a matter of fact, I could not wait to see everyone. It was my social interaction for the day. All I needed to do was relax, catch my breath, and solve the problem. Maybe getting suplexed on the mats has its pros after all!
Now that we are back, I am very happy to see everyone, I missed them a lot. We have what I guess you could call a post-class ritual. After class when we are done with training, we have mat chats. It’s like a talk show but everyone just got done trying to choke each other on the mats. Everyone has a funny story to share. Just for a second, everything is starting to look like how it was before. Sometimes deep down I do have to remind myself that it’s not. Things have changed, it’s a new normal. That’s okay though because even though the environment around me is different, the people around me and my purpose has not. No matter how blurry the road in front of you gets, just relax, catch your breath, and solve the problem. There is a quote from the Book of Five Rings that sticks out: “Truth is not what you want it to be. It is what it is. And you must bend to its power or live a lie.”