My wife, my kids, my friends, my teachers. These are some of the most valuable relationships I have in my life. They are all reciprocal, loving, compassionate relationships that share a lot of qualities with one another. There’s mutual respect and consideration. There’s understanding and support. There’s patience and space for growth.
Despite all of these similarities it would be absurd to think that my relationship with my wife is the same as my relationship to my son. It would be just as absurd to try to make my relationship to my teachers the same as my relationships to my friends.
My teachers are distinctly not my friends. They are my mentors. And under their guidance I have been able to achieve things that were near impossible before I met them. They have taught me to think more deeply, to care more, to love more, and to aim higher. They’ve helped me raise my self-esteem, move with fluidity, and to respond rather than react.
Part of our love for our teachers derives from the feeling we get when we see results based on their tutelage. Which is why we tend to want to be closer to them. We think that if we see them more often or outside of the martial arts setting that it will help us glean more of their wisdom. We idolise them and we think if we know more about them we can be more like them. The reality is we begin to see them as a friend or a peer. We tend to see their flaws and their short comings. Its not as if we didn’t know they were human before. But now we know it all too well. When we look through the lens of their flaws we not only see them differently but we hear them differently. We heed their advice differently. And then our results are different. All of a sudden we’ve gained a friend but we’ve lost a teacher. And now we’re searching for something new. When we try to change this relationship the result is that we corrupt it and ultimately destroy it.
If you want to maximize your relationship with your instructor, do everything you can do to make sure those roles don’t change. You are the student and they are the teachers.
If you want to learn more train more.
If you want to understand more listen more.
And if you want to be more do more.