Originally posted by Greg Jennings
I'm the senior student in a very small, isolated dojo.
It's frustrating not having other senior students to train with and not being able to just visit another dojo/instructor by driving a few extra minutes in another direction.
In a nutshell, you just summed up most of my first 7-1/2 years on the mat. I have empathy although I certainly had more external options available.
The dojo is like a large, nuclear family. The older have to care for the younger to raise them correctly. In turn, this teaches the older responsibility and nurturing.
If the older don't learn responsibility and nuturing, their own family, if they try to have one, will be dysfuntional.
On the other hand, if the older don't keep up with their profession and skills, it's hard to say how the younger will turn out. I thought Edward was pretty extreme but he did have a point.
It's kind of like a fireman rushing into the building to save someone despite orders to not do so. If the fireman dies he becomes a hero but if he obeys orders and lives he could save hundreds more in the long run. Somewhere, somehow you've got to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. I can't say I've always balanced that right, nor even that my motivation was always pure, but I do think we did ok in the examples I mentioned.