Dad was away teaching in Hawaii last week.
When he’s gone, I cover most of his classes and it’s always interesting to feel the dynamic of how the students fell about me. How they adjust to me. How some of them look at me with hesitation. How some of them look at me with enthusiasm.
Then, there are those who look at me quietly, but I can see in their eyes that they aren’t at all pleased with getting he Master’s Daughter, but they almost welcome the experience the way a knight gets ready for battle, the way I’ve seen in the movies at least. There’s the look in the eye which matches the feeling in the air and this buzz of anticipation which feels similar to the energy you sense when you step in the ring. It’s as though they are preparing to jab intellectually if I expose any weaknesses and I in turn breath in the exhilaration of this funny kind of competition, because I know that this is just another test of my skills as a teacher to know if I really do deserve to be a teacher at my father’s school.
When people admire my athletic nature I do joke that I have dad’s DNA, but you can’t be born into anything. You have to earn what you get, but first you have to own who you are.
I’ve gone through an evolution of learning and having started teaching at so young, I have really learned the inns and outs of myself. I used to teach by literally reciting everything that dad in class, I was kid. I didn’t understand what I was really talking about, because I hadn’t achieved the level of feeling necessary to even understand what on earth it was that dad was talking about. I was still feeling myself out.
Many years later and many life experiences later, I’m back in the classroom and what I enjoy most about where I am in life is that actually have a sense of self. I finally know who I am and I am fearless. I don’t care what others think, although I am very caring of others. There’s a significant difference.
It’s funny, the years I spent in the ring were the years I was probably the most insecure. I’d have people laugh at me fight day (mostly in boxing) sometimes because I didn’t look like a fighter. The paranoia about weight. The constant of living in the “unknown”, because you never do know who you are gonna meet in the ring fight day. There’s was something about the fighting years where I never felt that I was good enough, not to be confused with lacking confidence. I would have confidence that I gave it my all in training and that I would hold my own, but it’s a fighter and I’m a fighter and the simple logic exist where I also knew that, I wasn’t stepping in the ring to show off skills, I am a fighter, we step in the ring to prove our skills and what sense is there in proving your skill level if you aren’t testing yourself against a worthy opponent? This dynamic thrilled me, scared me, excited me and also keeps me humble. Aside from the physical skills, the mind of an athlete is so complex and we all are so different in how we handle the fitness balance of our mind.
I left the martial arts world for a bit and then I came back.
The most rewarding feeling I have had in a long time was walking into the school last week and having one of the students spot me and say excitedly “Are you teaching us today?”. I was little preoccupied with something I was trying to upload from my phone, but the moment this student jumped up so enthusiastically when I walked in and said this, I just melted. Dad was back and everyone is so happy when he’s around it’s almost like I feel the rest of us at the school disappear a bit, but we don’t mind, we all just love dad so much, who cares if we are forgotten because Poppa Chen is back.