Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Yin Yang

"Cool yin-yang necklace," says Peter, the guest speaker at our workshop. Peter has just used a yin-yang symbol to illustrate some of the tensions that exist in teaching and learning. (Challenging students while also encouraging them; being a coach while also being an evaluator--"opposites" that actually interact with each other, meeting and departing, etc etc etc.)

"Yeah," I say. "I'm learning martial arts, so I love this sign."

"Martial arts?" Peter is interested.

"I'm learning Tae Kwon Do."

"Jane is actually a dangerous weapon," jokes my colleage Bob, who's also helping to lead the workshop.

People often make this joke. It's especially funny because I'm small, blonde, female, middle-aged, an intellectual. Ha ha. A weapon.

Though it's a joke, this is one of those areas of martial arts where I don't feel confident. I don't feel like a weapon. I don't feel like a warrior. Though I like sparring, that's a game. Real fighting--I don't have that instinct.

"Pretend you're in a life and death situation," Brian had told me when I was worried about breaking boards for my test.

"If it's a life and death situation, I'm running away," I had replied. "I don't have that instinct."

Is that OK? Do I need to develop that fighting instinct more? Is that why I want to learn martial arts? Maybe, a bit. Being more of a fighter--both physical and metaphorical--might not be a completely bad thing.

Back to the workshop, though.

"Martial arts are good," says Peter, ignoring Bob's remark. "You develop focus, strength, calmness. That's good."

Yes. I think that's where I am, with Peter's view. Still, might not be bad to develop the Yang to my Ying and learn to be more of a fighter.

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