Okay.... As I alluded to in the comment section of my last blog post:
The new brown belt that we have in class apparently sustained severe head trauma in "Operation Iraqi Freedom," and there's been some damage to his frontal lobes. He trained at a different Isshinryu dojo for ten years and earned his brown belt, but he's been away from it for five or six years. Between the injury and the lengthy break, he's suffered what looks like total amnesia, as far as karate is concerned.
Now that I know the full story, I have a lot of compassion for his plight. Saturdays are our freestyle classes, where karateka show up and work on whatever they choose to work on. The senior belts often help out lower kyu, and Sensei is available to offer help, pointers, and corrections.
I'm going to try helping this brown belt. (First of all, I'm going to show him how to properly tie his belt.) I'm going to ask him if he'd like to work on stances, or go step-by-step through the Seisan kata together, or maybe work on charts together. I can use the work on all of these, and as one combat vet to another, he may be receptive to my help. If he's not, that's okay, too.
I can help him with the basic stuff, especially since it's all fresh in my mind. Charts, the Seisan and Seiuchin katas, and basic stances. He's obviously got the training, and as I help him, it will help me. Maybe as we go through different things, it will begin to jog his memory more... He's good about showing up, and I think he's doing his best, so I feel moved to help him. If he's a brown belt, at one time, he was obviously good. I want to help him as much as I can, so that he can become good again.
7 months ago