#29 in a continuing series— 84 days in the teaching life of an
American sensei in 1999

prior, Scott and Dharman had met in a threesome with a green belt named Paul.
It was a Friday afternoon. After Paul and Scott had been paired for several
bouts of a rousing, round-robin sparring session, Scott blurted out, “Did you
see how Paul keeps his hands down?
He’s obviously open to attack.”

observation was spot on. But his voice had such blatant condescension that it shocked the three of us. The tone was insensitive, abusive and clearly
out of place. It mortified Paul. The normally ebullient insurance salesman remained

is a goodhearted martial artist. He rarely wants to rock anyone’s boat, even though there
are times in each of our lives when we should rock the boat. Dharman wanted to speak
up, but he was still in the I-accept-pin-sticking
stage. I decided to deal with Scott’s harsh remark in private, rather than start
an open duck-hunting season on his ego.

caught Scott several days later at the end of class to discuss his issue with
Dharman. I began the class as usual, taking the three through the warm ups,
followed by Chinto applications. We picked about two thirds of the way through
the form when Scott’s back started to ache, limiting his performance. He
stopped every so often to shake it off.  Last week, Scott’s back pain had instantly and
miraculously vanished when Dharman executed a Chinto throw on him. Scott’s excess
weight is creating a chronic problem for his training. After the class ended,
and Paul and Scott had left, Dharman lamented, “I need to work with someone better
suited to my pacing. I could go through twice as many applications if I had a
sharper partner.”

the surface you are right, but your spiritual journey with Scott isn’t over,” I
explained. “The two of you are working out some karmic knot. Right now Scott is
your internal training partner. Each
conflict you surmount with him will give both of you insights about the bigger
battles with the males in your family that wounded you. I suggest you continue
training together.”

emotional agenda, hidden both to him and many of my students is a usurping
force. Some people will armor their wounds with academic prowess and then lure
the unsuspecting into their intllectual arena to establish their superior

see. Not all fights in your life will be physical. The wise sensei will equip you for battles in
more than one dimension of your life.