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Tuesday, 09 February 2016 12:18

Remembering Our Sam

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RememberYourSam wAs instructors we have all been there. You are speaking with the excited yet concerned parent or guardian of a potential new student, while seemingly throughout the entire conversation the parent or guardian must spend more attention keeping the child in line than they do finding out the specifics of your class.

Or you show up one day for class. You look in to see a prospective new student standing inside ready to go. The Parent or Guardian introduces themselves and quickly inform you of the “attention” and “control” issue you might just possibly encounter with your excited addition.

You stand there with a smile, addressing their concerns as you try to hide the expression of your own. Your mind races with the thoughts. You have three youthful 9th Gups just weeks away from their next scheduled test. Your mind drifts to the one, yes the “one” very trying 9th Gup that you currently have. He always shakes his head with a yes I am paying attention even though punching when everyone else has moved on to kicking. Each class is teaching this always “attentive” student one steps you covered with him the class before and the class before that.

Then there is Sam, the youthful, now 10yr old 5th Gup. Sam requires his own amount of attention, although seemingly not as much as before. He is always good for a smile. He always has a comment about his school day; his friend; his dog; what he ate before coming to class, etc. You name it he brings it up or asks a question about it. Yes we all have a Sam don’t we.

Standing there I think more deeply about my “Sam”, and his dad’s first comments to me after introducing himself. How he informed me on how Sam was not only very attention deficit but also somewhat emotional and moody. He mentioned how he wanted him in the class but didn’t want to be a hindrance to the others. He wanted some type of activity for Sam that would break through, hopefully finding something he could focus on, helping to improve his attention in other areas.

Wow, that same “Sam” is now a 5th Gup. The smile creeps across my face as I think of all the small breakthroughs and the progress. His parents joy about how Sam has improved both in class and out. I realize how fast he learned his new testing form and that if needed he probably could even teach his current one - steps to someone else.

I recall the last tournament, which was Sam’s first. How he walked up with the one gold and one silver medal around his neck. Later his parents informing me on how he wore them all evening long, everywhere they went. Yes Sam made progress and still is. Whether it’s your Sam and or my Sam, we all have or have had a Sam. As instructors we need to make sure we always remember them.

We need to remember the joy we felt at the end of that one class when we realized that Sam did much better. We need to remember and actually see the smile on Sam’s face during class and after. We need to remember how Sam doesn’t have basketball practice, football practice, or other involved school sports. Sam has Karate. We need to remember our Sam with each new “Sam” that stands there waiting with a concerned parent. The time consuming challenge that is standing before us just might be our next “Sam”.

Mr. Blake Cook

I began martial arts training in 1985. As owner of Cook's Karate Center, Florence, Alabama, I teach with an emphasis on realistic application of Tang Soo Do technique.

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