My name is Michael Jones.
For over a decade I have dedicated myself to the study of Ninjutsu. My studies have taken me all over the country and even as far as Japan.
Along my journey I discovered another who was on an identical path to me. She too had traveled and trained across the country and she too sought to further her understanding in Japan. As our understanding of Ninjutsu increased, so did our understanding of each other and we soon became an item. A few years later we decided to open up a class of our own. We decided that between us we were capable of imparting knowledge into others and furthering our art within Wales. This is where the fun truly began.
Every Wednesday evening we teach and every Wednesday evening, no matter what the evening theme may be, certain things are destined to happen. After we bow in and after a short warm up, the class will be split into two time slots. I myself will teach the first half and the second half will be taught by my other half, (Randa).
We demonstrate the movements on each other, making each of us the uke for the other, whilst the other teaches. Now as always, I will set about teaching techniques and principles to the students as they sit down and try to grasp what it is that we are doing. Each session starts the same, with me trying to teach the techniques as gently as such a potent martial art will allow. Such is Ninjutsu that as gently as it can be done, some techniques will still have that unavoidable bite.
Thud,……..followed by a collective gasp of the onlooking students. Suddenly there are grins appearing at me from every angle of the dojo. This must mean the show has begun. The students certainly think so. The thudding sound was the sound of Randa hitting the mats. (Harder than she believes necessary) She doesn’t complain. But her eyes narrow and her jaw is now slightly clenched. I look at the clock to see how long is left to my allotted teaching slot. Great, I still have plenty of time left.
Now these are the things that I know: I know that Randa will not forget what just transpired. I know that however gentle the rest of my teachings are, she will focus on the one time it wasnt. I know that her lesson plan is now rapidly changing and most importantly of all, I know that she will without doubt, respond in kind.
So what do I do? Do I go about my lesson as normal and hope that this misdemeanor will be forgiven? No. Do I apologise and ask her to take into consideration that the technique requires a certain amount of force? Definitely not.
What I inevitably end up doing, is ramp it up to an extra level and make sure that every remaining second of my teaching slot counts. I know that we are past the point of no return the second she hit the mat, I know that the second her teaching slot starts she is going to make me pay and I know that the chances are that I will be practically limping out of the dojo by the end of the class.
Thud, thud, thud. She continues to be subjected to the force of my preemptive strikes. Much to the glee of the class. A complaint never crosses her lips. Every time she is forced to the floor she springs back to her feet and resumes her original position. Her eyes flicker to the clock. We both know my time is coming to an end and soon enough it will be her turn to teach.
My time comes to an end. I thank the class for their efforts and hand over the teaching to Randa. Suddenly she is smiling and I’m now the hunted. Our roles have completely reversed. I find that my eyes are now narrowed and it’s my jaw that is now clenched. Whether from irritation or physical discomfort I’m never quite sure.
Thud, thud, thud. Its now me that’s repeatedly launched into the mat. Its my eyes that are repeatedly finding the clock. Soon enough the class is over. We thank the class, we bow out of the dojo and go home, having thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. We each know that the next weeks training session will be exactly the same. But that’s good, because as we all know. What happens in the dojo stays in the dojo.
Article by guest writer:
If you would like to learn more about Michael, Randa or the Cardiff Ninjitsu Club, please click here.
Classes every Wednesday 7.30pm to 9pm
Cardiff Martial Arts Academy