Having bowed on entry to sensei Amrit and Harris’s home dojo/gym – very important etiquette, that – and fastening up my red belt, it was time for some pre-match preamble. Sensei Amrit mentioned that she’d become addicted to the latest series of The Crown and I have to admit that I’ve seen and been glued to previous episodes of this royalty Dallas. And the storylines are all true! Tobias Menzies was brilliant as Prince Philip (and try Ridley Scott’s supernatural 1840s thriller The Terror, which he’s also in) but Jason Watkins as Labour leader Harold Wilson was the stand-out for me. As for season five, well, I can’t allow myself to be bogged down by a TV show at the moment – I’ve too much on my hands with karate.
First, a knee update. I had trouble walking last weekend, not helped by the so-called Great Northern franchise casually cancelling trains – a company part-owned by the French state, let’s not forget. Two cancellations on the bounce on Saturday due to “a lack of available crew” meant that with my knee twinge, I had to hobble for the best part of two miles to reach Southgate tube station. Best pleased, I was not.
Come the first karate session of the week, I was stressed, on the busiest day of my month (sending the magazine the following day), and still limping about. I went through the kata heian nidan a few times in my living room as a screen break and passed myself just about fit enough for throwing shapes. And to help, I popped a pair of ibuprofens as I got into my bright, white gi.
It was just me and Monty on the night, and small numbers mean greater individual attention – which works well for me. I learn more. The hour was all about stances for heian nidan, exaggerating our forward and backwards stances for a more pleasing aesthetic appeal. Karate has a lot in common with ballet – it’s ballet with violence. Forward stance: shift foot forward and to the left. Backward stance: 30/70 with feet in a line – that is bend your back leg more than your front, 70 per cent back to 30 per cent front. Not easy – but my thighs are becoming oak logs.
Must remember that to start nidan, you move your left foot then look to the left. And when performing a three-quarter turn – which I have to say I love doing for its artistic effect – it’s feet together and then make the move. Other notes: you don’t need to rush the kata to make the next grade. Which is just as well cos I’m slower than everyone else.
My knee wobbled at times but generally held up. I still can’t kneel – but I think there might be slight improvement. And there’s nothing worse than hearing someone going on and on about their injuries or illnesses, so I’ll stop right there. Knee was sore… no! The next… I said stop! Morning. Oh for goodness sake – shuuuutuuup!
It was just the single session for me this week. My brother and best pal had organised a drink up in the industrial wastelands of South Yorkshire and my presence was requested. What with having three days off work – yippee! – and the 80th birthday of my Doncaster-based stepfather imminent, I decided to take flight from London – which, alas, coincided with the main karate night at the Green Lanes church hall. Disaster! However, perhaps resting my knee for a week, keeping away from strenuous exercise, will work in my favour. Until next week, adieu!