If we teach martial arts we always hope that we will have a positive, lasting effect on our students. Seldom do we get confirmation that we made any difference to them, so I was thrilled when I got such confirmation twice within a week.
Mary Ann and I went to a Carson City restaurant mid-afternoon. There were only two other tables occupied when we sat down, and at one of the tables this tall, tatted, muscular guy kept staring at me. I was wondering if desert was going to be a knuckle sandwich when he got up from his table and started walking towards us.
“Excuse me,” he said, “did you used to teach karate in Dayton, Nevada?”
“Yes I did” I replied as I stood up.
“I was your student when I was a freshman in high school, and I sure wish we hadn’t moved away.”
He then introduced his wife and his young son to us and we had a very pleasant chat about the martial arts and how much he had enjoyed himself in class those many years ago.
We had family in town so we went to our favorite restaurant in Minden (The Overland). As we were eating, a voice said, “Excuse me Master McNeill but I wanted to say hello before we left.” I turned and saw Dorian who I had not seen in years.
She said, “I also wanted to thank you for fixing my son’s scoliosis when he was little because now he is a physical therapist”, pointing to a young strapping adult sitting with her husband. She also thanked me for treating her broken ribs years ago.
It was great to be told that I had, in some small way, made a difference to at least 3 people and I can only assume to several other people.
So if you teach martial arts classes know for certain you are making an impression on your students that will last them all their lives, even if they never get a chance to tell you.