The other day I caught myself daydreaming what my life would be like if I won the lottery here in Canada. Its been growing over the past weeks and there’s been no winning ticket. I think its $60 million now. That’s a good amount of money I would say. More than enough to take care of myself and my family for the rest of their lives, but what about my budo life? How would that amount of money affect it?
I would hope that a large sum of money dropped into my lap wouldn’t affect me, but that would be naive. But let’s imagine that it didn’t for a moment. What would my budo life look like? More than likely I would move back to Japan to be with my teachers. I would set up base in Fukuoka and split my time between there and Amami. Nothing would make me happier than to spend more time learning from them, speaking to them, and just being with them. There is just so much that I don’t know and still have to absorb.
On the other side of coin, I can also imagine my teachers looking at me after a few months and asking, “Why are you still here?” Like family, my teachers enjoy my visits, but they don’t want me moving back in. LOL. They want me to be independent and take responsibility for my own understanding of Karate-do and Kobudo. Naturally, they are happy to share their wisdom and offer advice, but they want me to do the heavy lifting – to struggle and come to my own understanding.
I’ve often wondered if this is the way non-Okinawan students are taught compared to their Okinawa counter-parts. Many of the dojo that I’ve visited often have senior students, both in grade and in age, that have been students for literally decades. In fact some nights the dojo can be full of students where the lowest ranked one is 5th dan! It may have more to do with the transient nature of non-Okinawan students, even if they stay years at a dojo, it is implicitly understood that they will eventually leave. Perhaps this is the reason for the difference in attitude.
Regardless of their motives, I’m thankful to my teachers for the way they taught me – and the way they would continue to teach me in all likelihood even if I won the lottery. It would all be up to me.