Story of Jessica by MasterPaul
“If a child cannot learn from the way that we teach, we must teach in a way that a child can learn.”
Story of Jessica
Jessica was a seven year old girl with one of the largest shouts you could imagine. Jessica always wanted to break a board. It was a dream goal for her, but where she previously trained she needed to be older.
During the day I run training sessions in schools. I use a plastic re-breakable board so that students can experience what it is like to break a board like a black belt. In order to add a different feel to the experience I began using wooden boards cut down from 250mm long to 100mm. When a child breaks a board, I sign “MASTER PAUL” across the middle of the broken board and suggest they look up our website www.MasterPaul.com.au to find out more information about joining martial arts. Letting students take home their broken board is a great way for them to share the experience with their parents.
It was a grading night in Macarthur and there were about 70 students that had applied for promotion. Chief Instructor John from the St George area added a new dynamic to the grading with his attendance on the night.
During the grading there was a section where students were performing martial arts techniques against each other. All I could hear was Jessica and Chief Instructor John kicking and shouting at each other, so I moved a little closer. Jessica was matching Chief Instructor John kick for kick and shout for shout, it was amazing! Then all of a sudden Chief Instructor John lost his voice and Jessica stole the show.
I said, “Jessica, today you are going to break a board”. The look on her face was priceless. I held the board just above waist height and asked Jessica to perform a side kick. The first attempt had great technique, balance and accuracy, but lacked spirit, determination and Kiap (martial art shout). I said, “Jessica, I want to see the side kick you gave Chief Instructor John”. Jessica looked at me and said “Oh, that kick!”
Jessica lined up and let it go. Jessica broke the board with all her heart and soul. The crowd roared. Jessica’s smile lit up the room and then she looked at me and bowed with respect. I had made her dream of breaking a board come true. I said, “Take the board over to Grandpa Wayne (who is blind), so that he can feel your accomplishment.” Jessica sat on his lap, kissing him repeatedly on the cheek, while Grandpa Wayne felt the board and congratulated Jessica. When Jessica returned she handed the board back to me. I said to her, “That is yours to keep and after grading I will sign the board”.
It was a busy night and regrettably I forgot to sign the board.
The next day I received a phone call from Wayne explaining that he had the board at his place. I dropped everything and went straight over to sign the board. We sat quietly together and then I said, “This is not good enough; we can make this a memorable achievement for her. Let Jessica know that I can be her news of the week if she would like me to and I will come to her school and train her class”.
The following Friday, Jessica’s mum, Jodie and I went to the school and trained 25 children. Jessica made me feel very proud and honoured to be there on this day. The teacher asked Jessica, “Who is this person?” Jessica replied in a loud voice, “This is Master Paul!” The teacher asked a second question, “And who is Master Paul?” Jessica replied “Master Paul is the best Taekwondo Instructor in the world”. What could I say, I was speechless. We had a lot of fun and at the end Jessica once again broke a board in front of her school friends and made them step back when she let go with a martial art shout. It was a great day!