WEEK 29: Cups And Saucers

WEEK 29: Cups And Saucers


With the blog now getting a million views a week, even more when it’s a school holiday, Mrs Gale had the crazy notion of extending to YouTube, a joint venture for us where I tell the world about an old man who’s taken up karate (me), while Mrs Gale expounds on all matters coding (see Mrs Gale’s Coding Column, elsewhere on this website). Did you know that coding, like karate, has katas? It’s true – and there was our link for a joint YouTube space: Mr And Mrs Gale’s Karate And Coding Kata.

The idea quickly gained traction to the point where Mrs Gale, a trained artist and designer, had suggested an opening sequence including a cartoonised version of yours truly in karate gi. Then with 7.9 million viewers, all eager to hear the hilarious exploits of an ageing karate red belt, the cash would roll in and before I knew it, I’d be driving a Lamborghini Diablo while wearing a cap turned sideways.

For now, the blog will have to suffice. It was half-term so there was no session in the church hall and it was just one class this week, not two – in the senseis’ home gym. For a small space, you can work up a proper sweat. We went heavy on kata practise, fine-tuning moves and checking our stances. I’ve realised that the kata heian nidan that I’d spent so much time learning at home from YouTube and my paper print outs missed a few vital ingredients. There is not just one cup-and-saucer section – there are three! And I’d completely missed a double block towards the end of nidan. What a chump!

When it came time to perform heian nidan on my own, I had a brain freeze, which does not look particularly cool in front of teenagers. I’m hoping this will all slot into place, but as always, there is much work yet to do! I’m not sure if the circuit training in the last half hour was punishment for my brain freeze but the strictly timed press-ups, punchbag-belting and kettlebell lifts were tough going for 8.30pm. I felt great afterwards though.

For most people doing rigorous exercise, muscle stiffness can be felt soon after a workout – but I’m fine until the following afternoon. It’s then that my arms and legs turn to concrete – always in the office. I googled the problem and it’s called DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness. It isn’t anything to worry about. It’s merely temporary muscle damage and inflammation after intense exercise, but it lasts for a few uncomfortable days. As they say, pain is weakness leaving the body.

I remember this sensation from my football days at school. The day after the first training session of the new season, I could barely walk and I recall being kicked in the arse while walking between lessons when I was suffering badly with this condition. Being booted up the B-O-T-T-Y isn’t much fun at the best of times but that was something else. I don’t think I’ve been wellied in the backside since then, you’ll be delighted to hear.

I’m now starting to contemplate that I also need to eat me’self fitter (needless reference of Manchester band The Fall) to get the most out of this late calling to karate. Mrs Gale is a veggie, so by association I don’t do too badly. But fried eggs, cheese on toast, more toast, bits of cheese, lavishly-buttered bread – well, these need to be restricted. And maybe drinking wine in the week requires curtailing too. Nothing cuts through the stress of a day quite like a glass of red or three – vitamin W – but they’re packed with calories.

Back to two karate classes a week next week. I can feel grading edging ever nearer. And by the way, the blog doesn’t get a million views a week. I think it averages four. Not four million, four people. And I’m probably one of those viewers! As my nana used to say, “We plod on.” Be seeing you!