In years of karate training, nothing feels quite as good as praise. I don’t seek the praise and approval of my teacher, but it sure makes you feel incredibly good when that praise comes. And it comes sparingly. My Sensei is a man of few words and simple statements. He tells you when he is proud of you as a student. He tells you when he thinks you are training hard. He tells you when he thinks your technique is looking good.
These comments are not the reason I train. Praise is not my motivation. But these praises can put me on top of the world. I feel my self esteem and confidence grow following these interactions. The felling is from childhood. It is the same praise that made my cheeks flush as a small boy. Pride, acceptance, and encouragement are powerful.
Sensei is very sick. His health is not good. And I find that our days of training might be coming to a conclusion. I do not want anything to do with this praise any longer. I don’t want to find this feeling anywhere anymore.
My mother passed from life many months ago. I have learned to live as a grown man without his mother in life. The possibility of losing Sensei feels like a similar vacancy Is is a felling of lonely independence, of self reliance of on-your-own-ness. This feeling is sad but strengthening. It saddens because this phase in life has come upon me. A phase when I am the grown up, by myself only, and looking for no confirmation. But it feels strong for the same reason. Because I have become fully a man, grown and independent.
I may have more teachers in karate. Teacher is what “sensei” means. And I will surely keep learning for the rest of my life but, no longer will I accept that kind of praise and encouragement. I want to live life free of the need to receive it. Not from my Sensei, or my mother, or my boss. It will not effect me again.