Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The most beautiful samu I've ever seen

I was careful to say *I*'ve ever seen as, if you look closely at the photo, you'll see that these diligent karateka are in fact my children and therefore this is special to me...

The act of cleaning the hall before training is a great way to make sure everything is clean and tidy and hopefully reducing the likelihood of splinters or at the very least making for a more pleasant experience. We don't have a dedicated martial arts hall so this is fairly necessary - I was scolded after one week's lesson when we hadn't been able to sweep the floor and had done some floor exercises and everybody's white do bohk's were filthy! But to be honest the kids love doing samu. And so do I!

I like the idea of devoting some time to cleansing (nurturing) the place where we'll train. It's almost a pre-training meditation. After all you're lost in the act of cleaning and making sure the floor is free from splinters or miscellaneous objects which may injure (in the past I've found-as I'm sure others have- thumb tacks on the floor, paper clips and small lego blocks which are REALLY painful underfoot!...). Of course this time can only be achieved if you turn up nice and early without being rushed-that's what I like. It may be considered a calm before the storm (especially when I'm teaching the little ones!) but I do have a job getting the brooms off the little ones who love to do it partly to play with the brooms and partly they like to help dad out.

I don't think they should do it out of obligation to me, but one day they'll see that it's nice to do it for their own benefit and for that of the others they train with. Doing this simple chore puts us against ideas of servitude if we're not careful. It's not only about serving others (although the word samu may allude to this) it's about working through a concept of diligent application for each and every one of ourselves.

This cleansing ritual is very useful. My opinion is that it's about helping others through a simple task as well as helping ourselves through applied and continued service to the hall and our co-students. This helps us retain a sense of ourselves-we're a member of a club: black belts masters, 6th gup all perform cleaning tasks. This helps us all see that we work together to help each other grow through martial arts.


Ikigai said...

This is a great tradition that you are carrying on, and it's very cool that the kids are involved too. One day when they are older they'll find they have good cleaning habits and place value on their personal spaces, and may not be sure why!

Sue C said...

We don't have this tradition of sweeping our dojo floor before training (more's the pity) but I love sweeping the hard floors we have at home when everybody is out for the day and the house is quiet - it's very meditational and relaxing!

Littlefair said...

Quite right, both of you! Instilling good habits of cleanliness is a good thing....and in can be relaxing!