Two weeks since my last karate session in the private gym of our sensei, it was back to the familiar surroundings of the church’s back room and a sea (well, more a tarn, really) of schoolkid faces. “You all look very colourful with your red belts,” Sensei Amrit remarked. My face was probably the same colour because I’d only just made it to the dojo in time.
I work at home on Thursdays but a ping on the phone from our internet provider, stating that there ‘could’ be a break in the service over the next 24 hours, created merry helll. I fired up the laptop and quickly realised that I’d not be doing any work from my kitchen desk. I had to dash to the office as quick as my legs (and trains) could carry me. I left the office at 5.30pm sharp and from therein battled a problematic, crowded Overground service. And by the time I’d got home, not only was I running late, but The Queen had died.
Got in, hugged Mrs Gale – who was a big fan of The Queen – changed into my Hong Kong Phuey get-up and then I had to drive to the church to ensure I wouldn’t be hit with the regulation 10 press-ups punishment for tardiness. As it transpired, I was the first one there.
This is the first session in a while where the outside temperature was less than 25°C. There was no mention of the death of the Queen and once we’d gone through the warm-up, there was no room for any thoughts other than keeping up with the karate routine.
The main focus was a new blocking move – an outside block, whereupon you deflect a strike to the side, leaving your would-be attacker wide open for a clonk in the old chudan – the chest. Now it’s clear that all blocks and thumps are used in various katas, we were soon marching up and down the dojo putting these moves to practise. Pretty easy. Easy for everyone but me.
Now again – is this an age problem? Is my old dog’s brain not up for new tricks? In fairness to myself, I reckon I’d have struggled with this in my teens. The bonus is that I tend to get one of the senseis in practically a one-on-one session. Let’s say I was slightly rusty after a summer lay-off.
There was a bit of tightening of the katas Kihon and Heian Shodan – still work to be done there – before Sensei Harry gave us a demonstration of the next one we’ll be tackling: Heian Nidan. It was ninja stuff. Lightning strike jabs and even side-kicks! I’d better start studying videos before the Nidan takes over my existence. I don’t want to be caught out and made to look a chump by kids aged 12-14!
Now we have a new king, I’m hoping to see Charles III at the presentation of my yellow belt – hopefully before Christmas at the church back room. But if I’m to make the grade there will be, as always, a lot of serious graft between now and then. Back home my gi was sodden with sweat. I’ll have to wear a T-shirt underneath my jacket top from now on otherwise I’ll start smelling like Chief Gorilla – even after the gi‘s weekly wash. Thankfully – for you and me – I’m running out of Prisoner episodes to base my weekly blog titles on. Where will I go after that? The Fall albums? Well, there’s a thought. And singer Mark E Smith was partial to a bit of No. 6. Hmm… Be seeing you!