Aikido as a fraternity has its own ‘odd-ball’ characters and idiosyncratic individuals. Some of them might be our seniors, but more often they are the junior belts that gets on our nerve.
Some of them simply have no sense of physical coordination, and the hand-eye thingy is out sync. Some, despite of sensei’s best effort, is simply a slow learner. This is a test for everyone in the dojo, and as Harry sensei’s student, I’ve seen a fair share of odd-balls and funny folks that came and went.
Right now, I think I can say that about this person called ‘Beng’ in the dojo. He is one tough nut to teach, and for one technique he can do it in many different, incorrect ways. his focus is fleeting, and when he focused, he focused too much and tunnel vision the technique. When he first joined the class, he constantly gets on sensei’s nerve. And mine as well. More than once, the thought of ‘Why don’t he just give up?’ crossed my mind!
But he didn’t. Sensei didn’t as well.
That is the spirit I see in Beng, despite of being apparently ‘clumsy’ in his own manner, lacking the right ‘attitude’ and focus, he came and he came, seldom missing a lesson. and despite of him getting constant barking and scolding from sensei. He never gave up.
That puts us at a quandary doesn’t it? I mean, Aikido, sometimes is about group conformity. the ‘in’ group’ vs the ‘out’ group. It happens and when newbies join us, they are actually trying to gain acceptance into the ‘in’ group, but until then, they remained the ‘out’ group. And some folks, we would like to keep them out of the ‘in’ group, partly for selfish and the group norm reasons. Some of these people simply don’t ‘fit’.
Beng turns out to be quite a tenacious chap. He has his focus in his own quirky way, and he has his attitude right afterall, because, if he really hadn’t have it in him, he would have quit. Many folks that came, with better attitude has quit.
Right now, he got his blue belt, and fundamentally, he has the mechanistic aspect of Aikido, and this didn’t happen until a long and tiring process, of scolding, training, re-training, more scolding, and of course it is all about Beng not giving up.
And through his hard work and tenacity, he is on his way to becoming a family member.