Saru mo ki kara ochiru | Even monkeys fall from trees
Sometimes it takes a monkey to remind us we are human.
Every so often I make a mistake in the dojo, whether it’s mis-remembering a sequence in a kata or something else and I remember this proverb before getting too hard on myself. Sometimes the notion that sensei are always to be correct even rests with the sensei, not from an arrogant place but rather feeling responsible for the instruction and guidance of those that come to the dojo.
I take the leadership and instruction of the dojo very seriously so the image of the monkey falling out of the tree makes me smile and reminds me to then laugh at myself and not take myself so damn serious. I am, after all, in the dojo for the love of budo (martial arts) and therefore in my happy place of sorts.
Daitoryu Aiki-jujutsu Tora Dojo located at 5 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ
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