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Welcome Aboard!

--"Izzy, how did you start dancing?"

--"What got you into martial arts?"

--"What kind of dancer/martial artist/writer are you?

--"How do you deal with brain damage, bodily injury and 

     C-PTSD, yet still dance, write, train, live the way you do?"

--"How do you still find joy and beauty amidst pain and loss?"

--"Wow, you should write your memoirs!" 

    This Is My Story

NSFW, 18+

  • Writer's pictureBella Dancer

EMBODYING THE CREED - Honor, Respect & Jerry-Rigging Learning Disabilities

It's the end of a momentous week. My eyes fall heavily and open slowly, but I'm determined. I'm dedicated. *slow lift of fist* Le-rawr.

On Monday, I received a text suggesting that I come into the dojo and observe the kids' classes in preparation for becoming an Assistant Instructor. Considering how much I adore changes to my schedule and entering into crowded locales that are not my element (ahem), I thought that sounded like the best thing I'd heard all month!

So I brushed face, wolfed down a Spark, and buzzed to the gym in time to watch the Little Dragons. These are the 3-4 year olds with whom my Evil Sifus plan to pitch me in and watch me glub--I mean, with whom my wise instructors plan to have me cut my teaching teeth.

This class has to have been one of the cutest things I have ever seen!

It is also brilliance. As I said during the Weekly Dose of Awesome at Friday's team meeting, I could write at length about all the awesome I witnessed in that one class alone. I could go on and on about the awesome I witnessed in the four days I observed the entire progression, but I do need to sleep sometime, so I shall begin with the first thing that blew me away.

The Student Creed.

I've had the printout for this thing for four weeks now. It lives on my kitchen counter. EVERY time I go in there, I work to memorize it. The dain bramaged one had thus far been only mildly successful. Then I saw it recited in its call-and-response format at the beginning of Dragons' class--complete with its physical anchors. These are a set of corresponding movements that accompany the words. A little dance, if you will.

Cute, right?

Absolutely. But so much more!

With the addition of this seemingly dorky dance, the students are subjected to the creed through the learning modalities of hearing it, speaking it, seeing it, and embodying it in the choreographed movements. FLIPPIN' BRILLIANT, I tell you! From someone with a number of learning disabilities, who needs new information to come in through at least three different channels for it to have a chance to stick, and as a long-time instructor myself, I cannot stress how impressed I was by this.

This theory ripples through the entirety of the system. There are so many intentional learning techniques, both subtle and overt, that have been threaded into this school's culture and curriculum. Each class, from Dragons to Ninjas, Warriors, Teens and through Adults pretty much covers the same techniques, but the delivery is altered according to the age group being taught, and according to the individual instructor heading the class. The school and its two sister-locations work as a cohesive whole, growing more so with every passing month, yet each teacher brings his or her own unique perspective.

Some of these perspectives are from the kids themselves. I got to watch the junior assistants both on the floor instructing, and then in their own classes, and these kids are amazing martial artists that *I* want to train with. They are such a marvelous representation of the system in action with dedication over time.

They are the embodiment of the words they speak at the beginning of every class:

"I will start each day with a positive attitude.

I will work hard to develop focus, confidence and self-discipline.

I will always show respect to others.

I will use common sense before self-defense.

I will be the best that I can be! (Sir or Ma'am!)"

So check this out. I typed that all by my onesie without cheating with the sheet. I hear their voices in my head now, and I see the dance. The movements have begun to anchor the words into my mind. The more I perform them, the more firmly rooted they become in my body, and you know what happens then...

They construct a foundation for my life.

As substrata go, I can't think of many better ones than this.


--UP NEXT: MY SELF-LURVY PLAYLIST- That I Put on When I Need A Pick-Me-Up

--OR BLAM: Where That Dain Bramage Started



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