This might not be the most atypical post for this forum, but it is related to martial arts. At least, to me personally.

When I was 17 and training at my local dojo, I remember training with a younger kid of about 14 who was a freshman at the same highschool. His name was Brian. He was a nerd to put it mildly. The kid was goofy, and maybe a little weird, but then again who isn't? In either case, I didn't mind him much.

Then again, I didn't really talk to too many of the people in the dojo. I just kind of went there and trained, and bolted out the door afterward. Just thinking about this makes me gasp at how little I understood back then and now even.

Anyway, one day I'm buying my lunch and heading back to my table when I noticed Brian at one end of the cafeteria, sitting on his own, eating his lunch.

In highschool, eating lunch on your own is definitely not the norm, and neither is being comfortable eating on your own. I guess after seeing this I was overcome with sympathy, having been through this kind of experience before myself (*sobs* I ate by myself for and entire year). So, I decided to pull up the opposite seat at his table and eat with him. During the resulting conversation, I found out he was a pretty avid gamer, and anime fan like me (not something I like to admit to most people), so we talked the whole time about stuff like DBZ and Rurouni Kenshin (Taboo around here aren't they).

In either case, I invited him to sit with me and my friends whenever he wanted, which he did for the rest of the year. It's funny, because after that, I started hanging around the dojo for a little while afterwards and getting to know more and more of everyone there.

I took the time to reach out to him. I don't really know completely why I did it. However, I found out that it really takes a lot more than martial skill to turn a dojo into something more than a place to train and fellow students into something more than practice partners.