WEEKS 7-8: Happy Returns

WEEKS 7-8: Happy Returns


Last week was The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee so karate was put on hold. I’d rather have moved the Jubilee, but my hands were tied on this front. Dad visited from the icy wastelands of the North (South Yorkshire) and when I should have been finding time to practise my kata kihon at home, I instead took to full English breakfasts like a duck to water and cracked open bottles of wine a little earlier than I normally would.

In short, I did bugger all karate – although we witnessed Lionel Messi take apart Italy at Wembley (Argentina 3-0 Italy) in the so-called Finallisima (attendance 87,114), saw the Queen’s flypast from a hill in Loughton, Essex and slouched in front of the telly to watch things like Escape To Victory and No Time To Die. And I tried jellied eels for the first time.

Taking a few days off from work meant catching up at the weekend and in the evenings. Stress levels quickly soared. Last night I was writing a book review until 9.30pm whose subject matter was a motor racing track I’d never heard of before in Connecticut – while glugging wine. When I woke with a slight headache, I knew that two weeks away from karate was going to hurt. And it did. But blimey it felt good to be back.

Sensei Harry took the class and again was my partner on training. He’s a hard taskmaster. I wonder what he’d be like in a boozer when it’s all kicking off? Press-ups galore, crunches at 45-degrees and generalised dashing hither and thither were followed by practising fighting manoeuvres. Snap those punches; keep your guard up or you’re finished; keep those stances firm.

To my shame I’d not practised kata kihon once in two weeks. It was always “tomorrow, tomorrow”. I was rusty as hell again today and when the hour was up, I was a ball of sweat. My grey joggers have gone straight in the wash. If I win the Lottery tonight – £10,000 a week for 30 years – the aim is to do karate for an hour every day and pay someone to teach me. For now – I know enough of the training techniques to get on with it at home. Mondays have to be sacrosanct training evenings in the garage and as that will be a work day from hell next week, it’ll be just what the sensei ordered.

Be seeing you!