I’m not sure what’s gotten into me as of late, but I’m seriously thinking about quitting my job. I don’t like the direction that public education is going. I don’t like robots. People aren’t robots or monkeys to be trained or a bottom line or some sort of product. We all learn differently, because, guess what…we are different.
The last few years I have been contemplating quitting my teaching gig at the high school, pretty much because of some fundamental issues, but today when I told myself I was going to quit, I felt nauseous, and for some reason, I’m taking that as a sign that I am serious. I asked my son (he’s ten years old) what he thought if I quit my job.
“What would you do, Dad?” he asked.
“I don’t know, probably run the jiu-jitsu academy and write some books. I’d probably be pretty poor. I wouldn’t have too much money.”
“Would you be able to pick me up from school every day?”
“Yeah, I’m sure I could.”
“Then I’m okay with it.”
I guess it’s pretty simple for him and he’s right, it is simple. He doesn’t care about anything but our relationship and being able to be with his dad and that makes me feel good.
I’m going to do some research about my retirement and insurance and some other things and if everything lines up, then it’s time to leave. I will always be a teacher, but I will no longer teach about poetry from books only poetry on the mat. I’ll keep you posted. One Love and Courage.
I’ve started to train a little bit more. I was getting mired down in things other than jiu-jitsu and was beginning to lose sight of why I started to train in the first place. Now I’m back to the actual rolling, the play and the challenge of the mat. (I have always taught but hadn’t been rolling too much if at all).
Something I realized right off is that teaching and doing are not the same things. I can teach all day—in fact I do—but to actually implement the skills that you have is totally different. You need to make that a continual part of your training. You cannot be all scholar and no soldier, all monk and no warrior. Jiu-jitsu can neither be all cerebral nor all physical—there must be a balance.
Of course life is the same way, the more we just focus on one thing the more slanted our life becomes, the more oblong and unnatural. The thing is that I don’t regret not training the last little while because it is all part of the process—a part of the whole. There is a time for everything, as the verse goes in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “A time to kill, and a time to heal,” or in Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, “a time for being in motion, a time for being at rest.” I’ve been in jiu-jitsu motion for so long it was time for a rest, so I took it, maybe subconsciously, but I took it. I feel good and I’m back at bettering my own game and it feels right.
For the next little bit I’m going to be working on a book I’m calling Mat Monkey, which basically is around a hundred cartoons I’ve drawn over the last few months. Who knows if anyone will buy it–I don’t care, I just want to do it because I want to do it. Anyway, what I’m finding is that these images are rooted deeper than I thought. This cartoon of the giraffe for example, really reminds me of my friend Chris Anderson, who took his own life a little while back. The irony is that Chris was a little guy. He did not resemble a giraffe in any way, shape, or form, but he had one tattooed on his arm. It struck me as funny the first time I saw it. When one thinks of the bad ass beasts to tattoo on one’s body, the giraffe cannot be high up on anyone’s list–especially a fuzzy-headed little white dude, but there it was, long and gangly—tattooed on his arm.
I guess I’m just missing the man, as well as all the other jiu-jitsu brothers that I cannot train with anymore for whatever reasons. When I’m done with this book I’m going to dedicate it to Chris Anderson and my other friends and students who have left us, never to return, but who will always be remembered.
Starting from the beginning—again. This blog is much like my black belt, I’m starting over. I am a novice again, well maybe not a novice, but far from an expert. Although it may seem like I’m starting again, I guess I’m really not. I have weapons this time. In jiu-jitsu, it’s technique; and for this blog, it’s experience.
I guess I’m most looking forward to the daily practice of it, of both writing and jiu-jitsu, like a monk and meditation. In the past I’ve written a lot about the flowery things about jiu-jitsu, about the abstract things and less about the technical things. I’m more like a poet than a scientist, but that’s how I am, so that won’t change, but I want to delve into the concepts and principles of jiu-jitsu as well as how jiu-jitsu fits into our everyday lives. I guess I still believe that jiu-jitsu fits into everything.
I just put this “book” on Amazon. I’m not sure if it will sell at all, but I just wanted to give people a chance to find some of the stuff I’ve written over the past five years. I’m excited to start from scratch. The blog for me has been a great place to analyze my thoughts. I’m working on a book of jiu-jitsu cartoons called Mat Monkey. I’m going to attempt to finish that this month. Wish me luck.