In my last post, I told the story of my first step on the martial path. I also explained that I am still on that path today. That means that I have been practicing for about 34 years and along the way there were many great teachers who have spent time explaining and revealing the martial path. Learning martial arts has helped me a great deal in so many areas of life that an obvious next step is to want to "pay it forward."
I finally had an opportunity to a few years after moving to Mississippi. In 2003, I started teaching a kid's kung fu class at a community center. I had a handful of students among them were these three brothers, who were pretty small for the their age. The fact that they were playful and funny made them a joy to teach. Their father was a small business owner and had them in all kinds of after school activities, like tennis and such. So I was really surprised to have them in my class. I figured they or he would value more mainstream activities. Never-the-less they enthusiastically embraced the class and attended regularly. The classes were seasonal with long breaks in-between trimesters and subsequent classes became less attended.
A year later, the oldest of the three brothers saw me eating at a restaurant and approached my table and said, "you know, that stuff you taught me it came in handy." He thanked me for teaching and walked away. I was really blown away. There are only a few times in life when you get to really help someone and see the results. Having received that kind of acknowledgment was really special. Additionally, it reinforced how important it is to "pay it forward" and reveal the secrets of the martial path.