Saturday, 11 January 2014

Near Success

I was very frustrated when I left karate on Wednesday night. I hurt everywhere and I was annoyed with myself for not realising what I should have been doing in my kata all along. But I watched that video over and over again, got Eldest to go slowly when we practiced, studied hard, and voila - a near-correct kata this morning. I screwed up the turn in the middle again, of course, but at least I know that's my big fault and I can put extra practice in on that. Putting the downward block in where it should be has actually made all the other turns so much easier. I'm really kicking myself for not spotting it sooner, but hey, onwards and upwards. I'll be moaning about screwing up taikyoku nidan (the next kata, which Eldest is working on now) soon enough!

I had fun sparring even though my contacts were slipping and blurring all over the place again. I picked up a third type this afternoon, though, so let's hope that does the job this time.

What I love about the club we joined is that everyone is happy to help each other.There's a real feeling that we're all moving along the path in the same direction - one of my favourite things is when the whole group works through katas together, there's such a sense of unity. Competition is so good-natured - whoever wins warm-up games gets a cheer, many people also clasp or shake hands and say thanks as well as a rei (bow) at the end of sparring, teasing is warm and familiar. There's a lot of respect built-in to karate anyway and heaven knows, Sensei Nicola deserves and demands it, not only for herself but for everyone in the room. But something I've picked up from my yoga teacher, Jane, is a sense of gratitude, which she often emphasises as part of our final meditation before we say namaste. We bow three times at the beginning and end of a session of karate; to the Chief Instructor, the Sensei, and otagai ni rei - the bow to the whole class. Each time we do that I work on bringing up that feeling of gratitude. Without my teachers I could not learn - and every member of that class is my teacher, from the newest kids in their street clothes to the terrifyingly graceful upper belts. I'm grateful for clean, bright halls to practice in (even though one is noisy and one hurts my feet!); I'm grateful for the money I have to pay for lessons; the ability to provide a fresh clean gi for both of us twice a week (though I hate the ironing!); the car that gets us there through the pouring rain.

Oh dear, I've gone all interconnectedness-of-all-things. Namaste, indeed!