WEEK 5: The Skid-about Man

WEEK 5: The Skid-about Man


For our wedding anniversary, Mrs Gale bought me a copy of The Essential Karate Book by Graeme Lund. That’s not my favourite spelling of Graham/Graeme, I prefer Graham, but I’ve just finished Harry Hill’s autobiography Fight! (which is very funny) so now I’m going to immerse myself in karate history and techniques.

It was quite warm today so I was on the verge of going to karate tonight in the same shorts I’d played tennis in earlier (and Pilates before that!). Remember, Thursday is my Lively Day. But everyone wears long trousers for karate and despite my legs sharing similar traits with Kevin Keegan, I zipped upstairs before leaving the house and jumped into my tried-and-tested grey joggers. No alarms, no surprises.

The trouble is with my joggers is that they curl round my bare feet at karate and I keep slipping and sliding about. I’ve recently started wearing baggy turn-up Levis – a better fit over the Keegan thighs – so I might employ the same technique if and when I get my own gi. Karate turn-ups. I’ll make millions out of this!

So – there was a new starter today. A lady. Age? Oof, I wouldn’t like to say. She was concerned the hour would tire her out too quickly, and although this was the most physical workout to date, it wasn’t impossible. We did a bit more of the kata kihon today, getting the stance right and the positioning of blocks and punches. It’s getting easier; slowly starting to make sense and sink in. I’d done a bit of practice in the week but my job was so awful, so stressful, that most evenings I just cracked open the wine and tried to calm the hell down.

Again the hour tonight was total stress-busting heaven – and we finished with COMBAT! Yes, a bit of aggro! The aim was to tag your opponent on the shoulder as many times as you could. It was pretty straighforward against an 11-year-old but not so easy against a 13-year-old. The new lady socked me in the jaw. Hmm, like that, is it? And whoooaaa is it tiring! For the first time in years I can feel my stomach muscles pulling in.

I asked how long it took to move through belts. “Is it about one a year?” I enquired. “Oh no,” said sensei Harry. “Three months, three months, three months, then maybe four months, four months…” What the…? I could have a coloured belt by Christmas!! Well, I’m not Karate Kid yet (and no, I didn’t like the film; I was always more Back To The Future and Beverly Hills Cop). Even so, I’d better crack on with my new book. As they say on the supermarket adverts, Every little helps. Be seeing you!