Thinking about next year. In many ways, the hardest part about this job is the shift work. In the last 15 years only twice have I been on the same schedule two years in a row. It makes long term commitments difficult.
Very few jujtsu students have been able to stay with me for more than a year at a time. Some years, the schedule is hard for people with regular lives to make- noon and midnight classes one year, just noon classes this year. Eight A.M. three days a week a few years ago. It ends up with a small group of students who are also officers and work the same shift. Hard core, but few will happen to switch shifts to the same one I do.
Next year will be another shift change, probably to day shift. It will be great for the kids. My wife and I will have less private time together, which will be a loss. I can so easily imagine dropping all the extra activities and concentrating just on the home. Evenings spent helping the kids with homework, reading "The Aenid" aloud to my daughter. Hacking at blackberries and teaching myself how to repair the mowers and rototillers that are so necessary on a small farm.
So many temptations, though. I miss Search and Rescue. On top of doing good work in the outdoors and extra training, it's great to work with a group of teenagers who aren't criminals. If you need to restore your faith in humanity and particularly youth, volunteer with a busy Explorer SAR group. The kids are heroes and many have done and seen more between the ages of 14 and 20 than most sedentary adults will experience in a lifetime.
The Obukan Judo club beckons. Judo holds the place in my martial heart of a first serious crush. I'd love to go back and sweat and slam with that venerable club. Day shift would make it possible.
Teaching. For the most part, I don't enjoy teaching. People are looking for answers and I'm telling them to look, to just see. It would take maybe two full days to teach everything that works as far as technique... it takes longer to learn to see, but I'm not sure it can be taught, only shown. So why do I teach? Because I find so few people that are able to talk or play at the level I want unless I trained them or they have both lived it and kept the inquisitive spirit up. People will ask me to teach and I will want to. Temptation.
There are events planned. I'm slated to teach at the Gulf Coast Jujitsu Camp in Alabama in January; Martial University in Seattle in May and the Uechi Summerfest in August on Cape Cod, so I'll have my hand in and be able to play. Will it be enough?
Honestly, I'm tired. Physically, mentally and down to my soul. A year off sounds good, with the understanding that a year off means ONLY dealing with about 400 inmates a day, 130 of them with severe psychological issues, leading and training a tactical team, designing and teaching courses for my agency, being a good husband and a good father to two autistic children, keeping a small farm in repair and trying to reclaim it from the scourge of blackberries, improving the house and land, teaching at a few seminars across the nation and working on a book or two.
That's not too bad. That's about half off the current schedule. It does look restful. Still, there's a lot of temptation.
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