Every morning I try to read the Bible to start my day with the right perspective. It has been said that we read the Bible, and the Bible reads us. How can the Bible read us? There have been many times as I am pondering an issue or decision, the Bible passage for that day was just the wisdom and direction I needed to move forward.
This morning as I read the Bible, I read the passage, “Life is not measured by how much you own.” I have been thinking about wealth, prestige and honor. Who should be more honored and esteemed in our dojo?
Specifically, in our open mat sessions, who should stand in the front sensei line in the place of honor? Our open mat sessions are attended by mostly adults of all ages and levels from various dojos. There isn’t much instruction but an opportunity for adults to work out with each other at their own pace. No pressure to keep up with the young studs.
Many of the participants are black belts who teach at their respective clubs. At first we had myself and the coaches in the front. As more esteemed and older sensei came to practice, our front line began to grow--sometimes longer than the line facing the sensei.
Reading today’s Bible passage my answer revealed itself. In our open mat sessions, we are trying to highlight that we are a team and a community of friends who have each other’s back. Age, rank, wealth, prestige fade into the background, and we become a band of brothers and sisters pulling together in life.
My first thought was to have only the lead coach for the session be in the front and the rest of us should face him/her. Even though I am the highest rank, founder of the dojo, and getting up in years, I am not the lead coach so I would stand with the rest.
As I pondered this, I found out that at Tokai University in Japan, they have a recreational judo group called a “Judo Circle.” They literally stand in a circle and bow to each other at the start and end of practice.
That’s a better idea! At our open mat sessions we have now incorporated a circle configuration when we bow. “Otagai ni Rei!” Translated “Face each other and bow!”
Thank you, Lord for revealing to me the value of showing respect and honor to all, regardless of age, rank, status in life, and wealth.