A Mother’s Journey by MasterPaul
Story of Tui
The special bond that can develop between a student and their instructor can last a lifetime. It is built on loyalty, dedication and respect but most of all it is built on supporting each other in difficult times.
I remember when Tui (mother) and Tetai (daughter) first came to our dojang at Carlton. Tui did not join straight away but was very supportive while her daughter progressed over the years and reached the level of Blue Belt.
On one occasion when Tui arrived with her daughter I looked across to say hello I noticed that Tui had a black eye. I did not ask her what happened. All I said in a firm voice was “It is unacceptable, so what are you going to do about it?” Tui said “I am joining!”
Tui took off her shoes and lined up with all the other students. I said, “Choon bi (Ready Position), horse riding middle section punch, Seijak (begin)”. Tui formed a great stance, a strong punch and gave a loud shout. I grinned because it reminded me of the first day I started. It was to be the beginning of a strong and lasting relationship.
Over the next few months Tui’s confidence grew and when I asked her “How is everything going”, Tui replied “A lot better now that I don’t let people treat me with disrespect”. It was very satisfying to know that I had given a young lady a new start in life.
About 14 months later Tui came up to me and said, “I completed an Active After-school Coaching (AASC) course today”. I smiled at her and said “That’s great!” Tui added, “I focused my answers on becoming a martial arts coach”. I said, “Do you want to become an instructor one day?” Tui answered by saying, “It would be an honour”. I was stunned and proud because I had not heard those words for many years.
Tui started training four hours per day and, with the help of her daughter who was then a brown belt black tip (one grade away from black belt), and with my guidance, Tui progressed to 1st Degree Black Belt with respect from all senior instructors.
I was the Instructor for Hurstville and Carlton at the time when a sad event occurred in my life – unfortunately my children’s mum passed away with cancer. One of the first people to support me was Tui who told me to go home and support my children. She would take over both venues for as much time I needed. I was speechless but humbly said “Thank you”.
This support network exists in all martial arts centres. We all work towards building relationships with each other and our students, and many times these are relationships which last forever.
Tui has moved forward with her increased confidence and became a personal trainer, boxer and as the photo shows a champion on the stage. A long journey for a mum that had low-self esteem and carried a bit of extra weight.
Congratulations from Master Paul