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A giant, who torments

Kawaraban No. 30


by Kenji Shimizu

The children classes in our dōjō are quite unorthodox. The teacher in charge is Bart, my uchideshi from Belgium. But now and then I am present as well. No, it is better to say that I am rather cavorting with the kids than teaching them.

Children always try to take advantage of breaks during practice. A teacher should allow such breaks to a certain extend, so that the children’s drive is not destroyed. Nevertheless he has to interfere for control without suppressing the play instinct. Educating and training are difficult matters. Softness and strength always have to be in balance. Children are very sensitive, and they recognize forgiving teachers quickly. And once forgiveness has been detected children rarely will listen to the teacher any more.

Well, the children call me “the giant, who torments us”. The meaning is, that I torment children, who are tormenting others. I romp around with such a child until it surrenders, understands its mistake, and is willing to follow the teacher’s instructions.

But two, three minutes later everything is forgotten. Strangely enough wrongdoing children have something charming as well. Of course children have different characters. There are obedient, fearful, ostentatious, and naughty children. The Tendōkan however is a location for practicing budō. I have the intention to impart martial arts as well as knowledge and morals, and to train mind and body. And particularly with regard to discipline there should be no compromise. I am feeling especially responsible towards the children’s` parents. And the parents do not complain about the method of training, as they are aware that everything is done for the strengthening of the mind.

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein and Peter Nawrot 02/2003