A typical Tuesday for me starts off with my alarm going off at 4:30 in the morning. This initially felt like a terrible time to get up, but by now I’ve been doing it for so long that I’m used to it. I get up, get ready for work, spend a little time with the dogs, and am out the door by 5:30 to get to work. It’s around now that I relish the fact that I got up early; Seattle traffic is often terrible, and my commute can easily be over an hour if I leave too late in the morning. As it is, I’m typically at the office by around 6:30am.
Somewhere around 3:30 or 4:00pm, I shut down the computer for the day and leave the office and head straight to the dojo. The first class of the evening is a kids class run by one of my soon-to-be-first-kyu students, so I typically spend that hour talking with parents, doing paperwork, or helping him out with explaining a technique or an idea. This student in particular has really come into his own over the last several months, due in part to his responsibilities as an assistant instructor. Because he is a recent high school graduate, it would be understandable if teaching a mat full of kids was low on his “to do” list, but this is not the case. He genuinely enjoys leading the class, and the kids look up to him and respect him tremendously. During this class, my daughter is usually on the mat training, and my wife is at the dojo correctly my previously-mentioned attempts to do paperwork. So we get to spend a little time together as a family.
After kids class, I either start warm-ups myself or have a senior student do it if my family needs me for an extra few minutes before they go home. Then we start in on techniques. On Tuesdays the mat is often very crowded–especially the first adult class–so I often spend a lot of time moving from person to person, observing their techniques, and offering advice when I think it might help. (I don’t know about others who teach, but sometimes I think advice is the last thing a student needs; instead, they need to just keep practicing the technique without interruption. But this is another topic.) Usually I end class a few minutes before the bottom of the hour to ensure enough time for folks who are sticking around for the next class to get some water or whatever.
The next class begins at 7:30, and is often a bit smaller than the first. This often works out well–we get to really dive into some of the details of whatever we were working on the first hour. I often joke that if you want to train with a really diverse group of students, you should train at 6:30pm; if you want a real workout, stick around for the 7:30 class. I try to keep a theme going through both classes–either a technique, or a ki exercise, or a particular strategy.
At the end of the night we have a 30 minute advance class that is strictly for 4th kyu and higher. Anyone is welcome to stay and watch, but this class is where we get really vigorous, so I’m strict about who steps on the mat because their ukemi skills have to be really good. We used to debate about having a longer advance class; however, by the end of the class (since most of the folks who stick around have been at the dojo since 6:30), everyone is completely wiped out. But the advance class is great–it really gives some of the senior folks a chance to move. I also get the opportunity to mix it up with them quite often, which is great for me!
By 9:30, the classes are done and everyone has changed and has gone home. I spend a few minutes in quiet meditation, then shut up the dojo for the night. I get to spend a little time once I’m home with my wife, and then try to be asleep by 10:30. Because tomorrow is another day!