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Home > Columns > Paul Schweer > November, 2006 - The Same Thing Again

The Same Thing Again by Paul Schweer

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I'll do it again. One more time I guess. Even though what we're doing doesn't make sense. I'll walk through it, or maybe show people a better way. Or why what's being shown doesn't work. Until the teacher starts talking again. Until I have to stop my practice and sit. Respectfully. And listen.

He says pity the poor sensei. He says being sensei is humbling. He doesn't say anything that might be helpful or maybe explain how to do the techniques.

He walks around while we throw each other. Sometimes he stops and corrects someone, and everybody stops their practice, waiting for him to finish his talking. He says to pity the poor sensei. He says, I know I repeat myself.

He doesn't recognize what I'm doing right, doesn't point out my skill. Doesn't once use me for uke. He tells me to adjust. He says, never let your partner lose.

Do you see, he says, do you understand? He says he is sorry he has let me down again.

Pity, he says, the poor sensei -- I know the flaws in my own technique. I have to stand up here and do it anyway. In front of everyone. Not because I'm better, but because I've been here a little longer -- practicing longer than us, he says. And I listen. I sit quietly. Respectful. Even though I know we shouldn't be sitting in seiza for this long, our legs growing numb. Our practice interrupted.

Pity the sensei.

He says, I know I repeat myself.

And I hear him. I hear what he's saying. Again. The same thing again. He keeps telling me the same thing.

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