Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Tuesday, May 03, 2016

National Teacher Appreciation Day

I see that Teusday is National Teacher Appreciation Day. I've had many good teachers but today I was thinking about a teacher I once had who wasn't a college teacher but a martial arts teacher - Tri Thong Dang (traditionally, Dang Thong Tri, or Mr. Tri, as we called him).

After college I decided to try a martial arts class because I was terribly shy and I thought it would help me be more comfortable with people. Also my sister and I were fans of Kurosawa movies like Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and Yojimbo. There was a school just down the road from my college and I talked my mom into going with me to take a tai chi class. Eventually I ended up taking all three of the classes Mr. Tri taught - tai chi, aikido, and kung fu - but I was only any good at tail chi and my mom was better ;) I was there for about five years, made many friends and also met my (now ex) husband there. Here are a couple of pics of me at the dojo ...

Mr. Tri was from Vietnam and had also spent a lot of time in France before coming to the US. It's kind of hard to describe him - he was formally friendly, sometimes very stiff (and yet confided he liked BB :) ), but other times he would invite some of us students out to a restaurant or to his home for a snack, and he came to my wedding. He was very adept at martial arts - here's one of his books: Beginning T'ai Chi ...

What made me think of Mr. Tri today was a mention of Vietnam on a blog I visit. I had mostly put away thoughts of him and the school and martial arts for many years. I had gotten married while at the school to another student and within a couple of years we were getting a divorce. I tried to stay at the school despite the discomfort of seeing the ex all the time, but eventually I gave up, moved on, and tried to forget about it all. But I've realized that it's ok now to remember what an interesting time that was and what a good teacher Mr. Tri was. You can read more about him here.


Blogger Dina said...

I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for telling us all about it.

4:19 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks, Dina :)

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Great post Crystal. Of course I had to click on the "BB" link. Interesting to see that she was fined for inciting racial hatred. Guessing that's not a crime in this country. Have you given any thought to continuing your Akido practice? Looks kind of fun with all those sticks and stuff:)

11:10 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Oh, I didn't know that about BB - just knew she was a past movie star from France. Aikido is neat. You use the energy of the attacker against them. But you have to be pretty good at getting thrown, falling and rolling so you don't get hurt. I was always kind of cowardly about that part. Also what seems like it would be fun - kendo - like dark Jedis :) ...

11:26 AM  

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