WEEKS 77-88: Going For The Go-faster Stripe

There’s no escape from homework if you want to progress in karate and the more I flicked through my diary, it became clear that practice away from the dojo in December was going to be limited between boozy get-togethers and festive parties

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WEEKS 64-76 Purple Refrain

By the time I’d put the key in the front door, I’d made my decision to quit. I couldn’t keep up, I struggled to follow simple instructions, my hip was bothering me and making movement difficult, I was looking like a prat, I was holding up the entire dojo and there was no way I was good enough to shift up a belt. I was through, done, ex-karate.

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WEEK 63: Back On The Horse – And Knuckling Down

So with that, the blog draws to a close on Week 63. After a blip, I’m back on track and a far fitter fiftysomething fella than I was on Week 1. Karate – maybe you should try it. I’m glad I did. So this is not the end. It’s just the beginning. I wonder what it would be like to be a black belt? And yes – that’s an Airtex England 1970 World Cup 3rd shirt as worn in the 3-2 Quarter-Final defeat to West Germany.

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WEEK 62: The Wheels Fall Off

Thursday, 15 June 2023 can easily be described as my worst hour in the dojo thus far. It was like being Bruno Fernandes playing at Anfield and Liverpool have gone 5-0 up. Bearing in mind it was 26°C – you can imagine the state of my gi after an hour.

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WEEK 61: The Gradual Realignment

Since starting karate 14 months ago I now also go to a gym for an hour on a Saturday, play tennis on Thursday and Sunday and stretch my arms and legs with a bit of Pilates a couple of times a week. Add to that the gardening (see main image) and I walk a lot too. Twenty twenty-one Lee would be astonished by 2023 Lee.

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WEEK 60: Nobody’s Gonna Break-a My Spine

The “broken spine” hung around to see Manchester United lose to Manchester City in the FA Cup Final but the lager and red wine that I sank in a Wandsworth pub with old friends meant that any pain by the week’s end was more focused in my head than my back. And I sort of remember giving my friends a karate lesson while wearing my Manchester United 1990 FA Cup Final Replay shirt. Oof.

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WEEK 59: SAS Squirrel

We’re at war with an SAS-trained squirrel. Having had a bird feeder hanging from an external light on our conservatory for a year without interference, our garden is now liberally littered with shelled sunflower seeds after countless dawn raids. Here’s Mrs Gale (see main image) doing a very good impression of the squirrel. Our two hours a week in the dojo require a toughness of mind so perhaps if the tables were turned, I’d now have the same determination as our resident bandit squirrel to get at the bird nosh.

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WEEK 58: Chop-chop

This year the jumble sale was a great source of 1980s sporting equipment. I need some weights for my continuing physio for my worn-out left knee and left-sided pelvic pain – which should in the long run alleviate sciatica. The queue to get in is alarmingly long. The trick is to arrive an hour beforehand – at least – and bring a newspaper.

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WEEK 57: What Now?

My week has been governed by sciatica down my left leg all the way from my B-O-T-T-Y, down the back of my thigh, to my knee. If that wasn’t enough, I’ve picked up a stomach virus. Gaviscon pink gloop is at the ready. Wash your hands thoroughly after reading this blog.

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WEEK 56: Coronation Sweat

There was full attendance in karate on Thursday, all lined up with feet together beneath the Union Jack buntings pinned up for the forthcoming King’s coronation. Our warm-up was fittingly royal. Ten squats at this end of the dojo, run to the other side of the room, and a press-up. Run back. Nine squats. Run. Two press-ups. Run. Eight squats. Run. Three press-ups, etc, etc. Forget the squats – that’s 56 press-ups in five minutes.

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