Ignorance Of Youth
Youth……… the comedian Dave Allen says that it is a time when young men’s brains turn to haemorrhoids…….. The sudden rush of hormones deepens their voices and deadens their brain. The happy, smiling children that love their Karate and train with so much enthusiasm suddenly become obstreperous and truculent spotty youths with longer bones and haircuts that look like their dad used a pair of nail scissors and a pound of gel………
Two years ago he had uprooted and gone.
He had trained with Sensei since he was 5 years old, at eighteen he thought that Karatedo was “boring” and wanted to do kickboxing and training that was “more exciting”, so he had tied the proverbial red and white spotted handkerchief on to his Jo stick and with Sensei’s blessing gone out into the big Martial Arts world to find his fame and fortune.
Now socially, he kept “hanging around” the club dan grades, obviously missing the camaraderie that could only be obtained from our type of training, but wanted it without the steady work and progression that built it’s structure.
“You don’t know what you’re all missing,” he was saying, “it’s a big world out there, kickboxing is much more powerful and realistic, other clubs do much more Kumite and Sensei is not so popular with the other Karate Instructors, they all say that his Karate is unrealistic and doesn’t work. Since leaving the club, for me it’s like opening Pandora’s box!”
The Freudian slip made me laugh and I could see that it was not lost on some of the other older hands either. Sensei was of course a pioneer of Kickboxing some thirty years ago and was known for his skills in Kumite for many years. But it was the “Pandora’s box” bit that really amused us, because he obviously didn’t know the story………
Pandora, in Greek mythology was the first woman on earth. The God Hephaestus at the request of the God Zeus created her. Zeus wished to counteract the blessing of fire, which had been stolen from the gods and given to human beings.
Endowed by the Gods with every attribute of beauty and goodness, Pandora was sent to Epimetheus, who was happy to have her for his wife, although he had been warned by his brother Prometheus never to accept anything from Zeus
When bestowing their gifts on Pandora, the Gods had given her a box, warning her never to open it. Her curiosity finally overcame her and she opened the box from which flew innumerable plagues for the body and sorrows for the mind. In terror, she tried to shut the box, but only Hope, the one good thing among many evils the box had contained, remained to comfort humanity in its misfortunes.
He didn’t realise that what he had said was more accurate than what he had intended……………
Anyway, the following week he turned up at the club to watch and I found his presence highly irritating knowing his opinions of our training. I approached Sensei and told him of the earlier conversation and asked if he wanted me to get him to leave……
Sensei laughed at the story, but would not let me throw him out. “He’s obviously missing your friendship, you don’t have to agree on everything to be friends.”
“But I find his views on our training and of you insulting.”
“I watched him grow up for thirteen years, he is still one of my children, I can’t cast out a child because he insults me.”
“But his views are outrageous and shouldn’t be encouraged.”
“You’re not encouraging him, you don’t have to agree with him, but you can still be his friend, it seems that is what he really needs at the moment, otherwise he wouldn’t be here………”
“But his manner is so irritating……”
“This is youth, were you not the same?” I had to admit that I probably was, I had never really thought about it. “I certainly was,” admitted Sensei. “All I wanted to do at his age was fight, I would fight anyone, anyhow, anywhere. All I wanted to do was test myself, against individuals, any system or authority, I knew that I was wrong really, but wouldn’t admit it and couldn’t do anything about it anyway because it was this giant rush of hormones. In most societies it is called “the rites of passage” African natives would have to kill a lion, in some tribes the young males are circumcised in a painful ceremony to “prove their manhood”, he’s going through the same phase. You are his real friends, he knows it and that is why he is here.”
“Can we not cater for his ‘rites of passage’?……….”
“It is important for him to do it for himself and challenge the outside world….”
“But he is likely to lose and get hurt.”
“Yes, but that is all part of growing up.”
I’m glad that I’m not eighteen any more.