We have an active Teachers In Training system at our studio. One never knows where the next great instructor will come from that will touch your life forever. The following took place at a recent TNT meeting…
Then the bird…this time of the year doors are open, and we get serenaded by the hundreds of birds flying around Williston Park. At one point the chirping got louder which is not a surprise. Then Mrs. Water mentioned that we had a bird visitor. Yes, a bird had flown into the studio. A small one yet a frightened bird nonetheless. This was the 3rd time in our 35-year history that we have had winged visitors. The giggling and excitement rose to a high level between, Master Q., Kayla, Danial, Michael, and Tara. The bird was not too happy though. Procedure is to shut the lights down and close the back door. Then the bird will always fly to the light. Why? That is their pattern. The light equals their freedom. However, the front door is surrounded by lots of plate glass windows which the bird kept on flying to. We needed to steer the bird towards the front door.
So, I asked myself, how could I make this a win-win situation? How could I create a great learning experience for TNT members and still steer the bird, unharmed to safety?
As we prepare to start classes on the lower level beginning June 1, we are pre-framing our students for the eventuality of sparring others when social distancing relaxes. Lately, I have been asking this question during classes…how long does it take someone to throw their favorite technique? Answer…three to five seconds. Once you recognize that you can take your partner out of their comfort zone. They will then immediately go back to their favorite technique. Then you have them! You are in control. This is since everyone has a recognizable pattern. Much like students always place their same leg into their karate pants every class attended.
Furthermore, our teachers learn to positively influence students’ behaviors moving them from inappropriate ones to empowering ones. We use a mindset that suggests four concise methodologies…1. Understand and appreciate their world, 2. Get leverage, 3. Interrupt their pattern & 4. Create an empowering alternative.
So, I applied the mindset to successfully getting the bird safely out of the studio in order to fly off to freedom without grabbing or pushing. 1. Understand and appreciate the bird’s world. Scared, out of element, and no family members around to support. Talk about fight or flight. 2. Get leverage. Turned the lights off and gently used different elements to move the bird to the front window. That was a challenge. The bird finally did yet bounce off and flew numerous times around the darkened studio. 3. Interrupt their pattern. The bird would eventually fly to the light. Why? That is what birds do. The last time it flew towards to window, it slipped down to the safety of the branches of the planter at the front door. 4. Create an empowering alternative. Once the bird felt safe in the branches of the plant, I walked slowly towards it while sending green energy. Green is the color of love & gratitude. As I moved closer, I started smiling and the bird seem to calm down. I bent down, got on one knee, and slowly moved my hand to the bottom of the planter. The bird was still nervous yet seemed to calm down a bit. As I placed my hand on the planter, I started slowly moving the planter along with its passenger towards the front door. It seemed to take forever. I didn’t wish to startle the bird. On my hands and knees, I slowly moved the plant towards the front door still smiling and sending green energy. Inch by inch is certainly a cinch! Finally, I pushed the bird and the planter over the threshold and then gave the planter a little shake. The bird happily flew to freedom!
We cover the mindset in instructor certification classes. Have an amazing day!