I need to figure out what I want for a karate icon.
My trial period is over; I’ve decided to join the dojo for real. To that end, I bought myself a pair of gloves, and sparred for the first time yesterday. (I kind of sort of sparred last week, but it was more like a set of sparring drills; when it came time for people to do scored bouts in front of the teachers, I was never called up.) They paired me against one of the black belts — all of whom, from what I’ve seen so far, are good people who understand that nobody benefits if they just wipe the floor with the little baby white belt. I “won” our bout, because she decided my lesson this week should be learning to attack: she launched the occasional strike at me, but mostly baited me forward, luring me into, y’know, doing something.
Which was both familiar and strange. I’ve sparred in fencing, but bare-handed combat is new to me. It’s a lot closer-range than I’m used to; the black belt kept beckoning me in, while I floated out at something more like blade length. On the other hand, since I don’t have to control a heavy piece of metal — and if you think rapiers aren’t heavy, you haven’t tried to wave one around for very long; they gain a pound with every passing minute, I swear — I was able to follow through much more cleanly when I saw an opening. Which my sparring partner even praised after class: the fencing experience means I do see openings. (I see them in fencing, too, but when I try to exploit them my point goes haring off god knows where, because my wrist strength crapped out three passes into the bout.)
Now, if I can get more than basic punches and some half-assed what-block-was-that stunts into my repertoire, I might get somewhere.
I also need to learn to kiai. Since apparently a point doesn’t count if you don’t yell when it lands. Just wait until I start doing this in fencing: the peril of pursuing two martial arts at once.
Wednesday . . . is gonna hurt. Because if I try to come down into the straddle splits from above, the way we do in class, it strains my hips without actually stretching me, so yesterday I did it the way I used to in dance: start on the floor, then roll forward into it. Their way, I’m a foot and a half off the floor; my way, maybe four inches. But it isn’t a method that lets you ease gradually into anything, so I fully expect my inner thighs to stage a violent protest come tomorrow.
When I will make them do it all over again.