Monday, 31 October 2011

The Only Secret Is Sweat

Today I did my usual bit of writing, kissed my hamsters, and went to karate. It was a shorter lesson as we had to help move things all the things in storage at the old dojo to the new one, which took longer than the actual lesson, for which Shihan put us through a round of circuit training. Fake-white-belt and I, paired, moved from jumping over hurdles (they fell over a few times and I felt rather silly trying to get enough air time to carry me over and across) to weighted situps to punching at a bag to kicking at a bag to jumping jumprope to freestyle bag fighting, and then we did it all again. Of course, this was done after we had run up and down the length of the dojo and leaped like frogs and skipped backwards and grapevined and kicked our heels while flailing our arms. In the middle of all this thrashing and weaving, Shihan still found the time to correct me. "Sanna, really bend your legs."
"Yes, Shihan."
I bent my legs and leaped higher and tried a little harder with the master's eye on me.

We moved a lot things out of storage--barbells, wooden boards I'll break, according to Shihan, when I've "grown up," old cds, karate posters, a mop and bucket, other bits and bobs one might imagine adorning the walls of a dojo. I found a stack of photo frames with pictures of previous classes and graduates and sempais and higher ups in kyokushin karate. And Dolph Lundgren. There he is-- Ivan Drago from Rocky IV--right next to my Shihan.

With the dojo within walking distance, Shihan decided we could carry the last few things over ourselves, and that is why Shihan and Alexandra carried a larger-than-life painting of Mas Oyama, the founding father of kyokushin karate, between them down the street, and I followed with a large, square sign for the dojo balanced on my head.

"Behind each triumph are new peaks to be conquered." 

After a very long time shifting things into their new place of residence, most of the people went home, cycling off into the cool night air for home and hearth. The rest of us fell to refitting the punching bags. I learned a great deal about them today. (The punching bags, that is. Not the others.)

The stuffing in the bag (usually made of rags or ripped cloth) settles after a few years of (ab)use, compacting into itself and hardening. Therefore, it is necessary to open the bags, pull out all its stuffing, fluff it, and put it back. Shihan, blue-belt, yellow-belt, and fake-white-belt undid one of the bags and ripped out its innards (the bag itself had broken open on the side and had to be retired), which fake-white-belt and I stuffed into the new green bag.

Fake-white-belt hails from the land of Germany. 

 Before the gutting begins

Out with the old, in with the new 

It's a bit like stuffing a large sausage.

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