WEEK 4: Free For Hall

WEEK 4: Free For Hall


I was sent a clip by sensei Amrit to practise my kata kihon at home and the Japanese master on film that I observed performed the moves like he was an exotic big cat prowling a deer. As previously mentioned, I’m an oak table! The day job has been unusually gruesome this week. Very stressful, with me sitting in front of a computer all day, sometimes working 7am-7pm. I had little time to have a go at the kata kihon moves and when I studied with tired eyes how it was done, I became instantly lost. Before heading to class I said to Mrs Gale, “It’ll be ages before I get anywhere with karate.”

Tottenham were playing Arsenal – and I thought it was quiet because when I turned up at karate there were just two girls from the council estate booting a football around the church car park. Amrit turned up, on her own, moments later and once inside the hall, I was told it was a one-on-one session. Nobody else. All the usual kids in the class had called in and cried off to watch the game – even sensei Harry was absent because of it.

I brought out a print-up of the kata kihon that I’d been trying to follow, which looked like the early sketches of a 1980s video game. I couldn’t make head-nor-bloody tale of it to be honest, but it looks great. Amrit said, “OK, let’s go through it together.” After the warm-ups and press-ups, which I love, we got down to nailing these impossible, basic moves. Forty minutes later I’d got it. I’d actually got it! A bit wobbly here and there – but it was a breakthrough! I ran through all 20 kata kihon moves a few times with Amrit, then did the whole thing on my own. I couldn’t believe it! Just an hour ago, I was a no-hoper.

After that, there was no better way to end the session than punching and kicking my away across the hall. Stress: busted. A couple of years ago when I interviewed New Order’s Peter Hook, he told me that the gym was his addiction and how smashing the hell out a punchbag was a brilliant way to get rid of negative energy. I see what he means now. Oof, what was the noise? Oh it was me name-dropping.

Packing up, and in a bit of daze, I think there was mention of “grading” and getting my own gi. I’d like to think they can see how serious I am about karate. But if I want to make headway in the future, I should time it with the local football derby. So I’ve made that all-important first connection, a connection I thought that was perhaps beyond me. This was serious old dogs/new tricks territory. I could be on my way to A WHITE BELT. I’d better buy some Daz Automatic to keep it not just white, but Daz white! Be seeing you!