“Jum-bee”. At first glance, the meaning of this command seems to be, “Get Ready”! “Get into position!” It seems simple enough, but if we take a step back, and really think about it, we should ask ourselves: what does it mean to be ready? We are martial artists, and as such, “jumbee” should mean much more to us than the simple physical action of shifting from our attention stance to our ready stance. “Jum-bee” means to be ready to listen. Be ready to learn. Be ready to open yourself, and empty yourself, so that you can be filled to the brim with the knowledge and experience graciously offered by our excellent instructors each time you enter the dojhang. “Jum-bee” means to humble yourself, becoming once more a white belt in your mind: eager and willing to listen, to accept both criticism and praise, to rejoice in others’ accomplishments – as well as your own – and to know most of all that you are never finished learning.
GrandMaster Yu once told me that when he gives one of us individual instruction, he must step outside of himself, and into our shoes, so that he can instruct us in a way that will best allow us as individuals to grow and flourish as martial artists. This caring and thoughtful instruction is something that GrandMaster Yu offers to each of us as a gift, and a gift is something that is not only freely given, but must be freely received. Thus, in order to receive this gift, we must make the effort to step outside ourselves – of what we think we know – and become martial arts babies – figurative white belts – once more, preparing ourselves to learn not only physical forms and techniques, but to open our minds and hearts to the discipline, philosophy, culture, and creed of the arts. We must once again become white belts not only to prevent ourselves from being unteachable like the man in the allegory of the filled cup but so that we may approach martial arts and those who teach it with the awe, respect, and dedication they deserve. So “jum-bee” everybody! Listen! Prepare! Become your white belt self once more!
-Submitted January 12, 2016 by Miss Andie Pizzo, on her promotion to Brown-Stripe Belt.