WEEK 63: Back On The Horse – And Knuckling Down

WEEK 63: Back On The Horse – And Knuckling Down


The main problem with blogs is that they’re time consuming. For this blog I’d make notes after karate on Monday and Thursday, start writing it on Friday evening after work, come back to it on Saturday afternoon and not publish till Sunday around 11am. That is not a constructive use of time.

So this is my final karate blog after 14 months of diligence. Last week’s “Debacle In The Dojo”, as it will be forever known, also led me to my decision to park the blog in the sidings, whereupon it will be attached to a heavily weathered freight engine and dragged unceremoniously to the blog scrapyard in Rotherham and dismantled with a blowtorch.

But for now, we still have a blog shift to put in. As Antoine de Caunes used to say on Rapido in the early 1990s, “Allez maintenant!” (Antoine is 70 in December!)

Last Thursday was a watershed moment, where I’d put in such a shameful dojo display that I’d seriously considered ruling myself out of contention for grading in July. Talk about soul-searching. I detected a voice deep within whispering, “Give it up – you’re not good enough.”

I’m at court all day, working in the evenings, working some of the weekend, but after Thursday’s shambles I thought, “I have to find time for karate practice.” And to make time, this blog is the sacrificial lamb. It makes sense. Physically practising karate is more effective than tapping a keyboard writing about what I’d learnt that week from the senseis. If I win the lottery this week, I’ll have time to do both. And I’m due a huge win.

To fend off a repeat of chronic dojoitis, I meticulously worked through blocks and counters through the week and jotted down the moves in my karate notebook, which I packed in my bag to take with me wherever I travelled to. When I wasn’t reading my notes, I went through the techniques in my head – even when I was ironing.

On Thursday before karate, as soon as I got home from jury service, I was like Hong Kong Phooey in the kitchen, swishing a block with one arm and jabbing a counter with the other.

By the time I arrived at the church hall on Green Lanes I was feeling like a different person from the week before. I couldn’t wait to get cracking. Things didn’t start too well though. I was once again getting my left and right mixed up on the drills but I was told to just keep going and I managed to get through it. Despite this, I didn’t feel too much like Mr Confused. I was rejuvenated – but heck, did I sweat. Sensei Amrit said that sweat is fat crying.

We worked on blocks and counters for the kicks yoko-geri kikomi (whip side-kick) and mawashi-geri (roundhouse) and practised height kicks with the latter. Then there was the inevitable fine-tuning of heian yondan. From thinking I should sit out grading next month, I’m now wanting that purple belt with a vengeance. After the session, I said, “That was mega.” Practice really does make perfect.

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?