An Amazing Harvest
“It is only the farmer
who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring,
who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.”
One of the things I love most about my job as a martial arts instructor is that I get to witnesses people scoring little victories in their lives every time they step on the mat. When a student who has been struggling with balance executes a powerful and controlled kick, when a person who struggles to grasp self-defense techniques fights off several “attackers” without seemingly thinking about it when a painfully shy person lets rip with a ferocious kiai –these are all little things that signify a huge step forward in a martial artist’s development.
And then there are the moments that are huge all by themselves.
Saturday, we graduated a bumper crop of new Black Belts, ranging from Junior Black Belts all the way to a new Third Degree. I’m sure all 26 of those accomplished martial artists are still basking in the glow of that achievement. I know I’m still bursting at the seams with pride. Not only did they shine in Nashua on Saturday—and man, oh man did they ever. They made an incredible journey just to be there.
For a few years I had the pleasure of working at Green Meadows, an organic farm in Hamilton, in a work for share program. Besides providing me with some satisfying dirt-under-your nails outdoor work and amazingly fresh produce to take home to my family, it gave me a real appreciation into just how much work goes into taking a crop from seed to harvest. It’s a constant battle against weeds, bugs and other would-be diners, weather that’s too dry or too wet and plain old fatigue. Not a whole lot of time off for a farmer during the growing season; it’s a job that requires constant vigilance and acres upon acres of hard work.
I can tell you stories about each of those 26 students who soared through their test with flying colors Saturday, just like I can tell you about all the dragons each of our dojo’s Black Belts had to slay and all the peaks they had to climb on the way to their achievements. Because that awesome accomplishment is not just the culmination of a thousand little victories along the way, it is also the result of a thousand little failures each of those students endured and overcame. The seeds were planted years ago. The intervening time was full of constant, difficult work. And the results were a bounty our entire dojo can be proud of.