Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sensei ni rei

It bothers me that I allow my level of self-esteem to be determined by what others say and do. In theory, I should be shaped by God's opinion of me, not everyone else's. In reality, that just doesn't always work. Sometimes, I feel down because of others' negative opinion, or even just my perception of their negative opinions. On the flip side, if someone compliments me, I don't seem to allow that to raise my self-esteem much.

An exception to this happened on Friday. I just earned my orange belt in karate. It is the first belt you earn in Shotokan. I was in the women's bathroom getting ready for karate, when Ben came in. "Mr. Sanchez told me to give this to you." I was very excited to receive my belt, but truthfully, had hoped for a little more pomp and circumstance than having my 6-year old give me my belt in the bathroom. Nonetheless, I put on the belt. My demeanor changed immediately. I felt more confident.

As I started heading to class, I met up with some of the younger students in class. "Wow! You have your orange belt! That is so cool!" I talked with them about it and told them about my test. I was positively beaming at this point. When class started, everyone had to line up after me, because I am now officially the senpai, the class leader. The high belt in class is the senpai, so it's very unusual for an orange belt to be senpai. However, this program is new to our area, so everyone is just beginners. When I go to karate on Tuesday, there are many advanced belts, so I am pretty low on the totem pole.

We started class, and everyone lined up next to me. As I was about to say "Sensei ni rei" (bow to Sensei), my Sensei said it! I was bummed, and I let him know that. (Bad on my part. I tell Ben all the time how important it is to show respect to Sensei.) We had an exceptionally hard work out in karate. I hadn't been working out much in the last two months. This week, I had karate on Tuesday, ran on Wednesday, lifted weights on Thursday, and then karate again on Friday. I was starting to wonder whether or not I was going to make it through the whole class. I kept remembering my position as senpai and kept trying to do my best. Honestly, I was a little whiny and wimpy, something I need to work on. Senpai really isn't that big of a deal in my class, but I still feel as an adult and the only orange belt, that I should set an example.

As class ended, we lined up again. This time, Mr. Sanchez allowed me to call out the greeting, "Sensei ni rei." I had to stop myself from giggling. I was proud of myself. I worked hard for that belt. My classmates were proud of me. It was a good day for my self-esteem.