The continuing adventures of the Littlest Yellow-And-A-Half Belt

Haven’t posted about karate in a while. (Still need a karate icon.) I belt-tested a while ago and got my yellow-belt-with-black-stripe, but they didn’t have any in my size, so I’m still running around in a yellow belt. (Am tempted to take a sharpie to it.) Two down, lots to go, but I’m enjoying the sense that I am progressing. I’ve got enough awareness of my own movements to be able to feel how I’m improving, and it’s kind of intriguing to observe.

Intriguing, and occasionally frustrating. Not because I’ve hit any kind of plateau, but because I’ve progressed far enough to run afoul of the one respect in which I take criticism badly: I hate being told I’m screwing something up when I already know that. Point out a flaw I wasn’t aware of, and I’m delighted, but bring up me one I’ve been kicking myself about for weeks? That’s the one thing I react badly to, in the sense that it just encourages me in my (occasionally counterproductive) habits of self-castigation. And now I’m aware enough of certain flaws in my work to hit that point.

On the other hand, the sensei tonight, after giving me a few eye-opening pointers on kihongata san, told me I did “beautiful kata.” Which, coming from a teacher you respect enormously, is enough to put you walking on air for a couple of minutes. At least if you’re me.

I need certain muscles back. Except that it probably isn’t even “back;” I can’t say for sure I ever really had much strength in my hip abductors, since dance almost never had me taking my leg out to the side in anything other than a rotated position (which shifts a lot of the work onto the glutes and the quads). So, okay, I need to get those muscles strong, because even if high side and roundhouse kicks aren’t anything you would use in a real fight, I’m asked to do them in class, and I ought to have good form. And the ab work we do for the belt tests is coming perilously close to making my quads give out (long before my abs do), so that’s something else to fix. And, y’know, the whole pushups thing. Stupid upper body strength. Or rather, lack thereof.

I am a looooooooong way from doing the one-armed pushup seen in that icon.

But I like feeling myself become familiar with a different style of movement. I can’t wait to get my orange belt, at which point I might be able to learn pinan nidan, the next kata; it’s very different from the ones I know already, and I expect I will learn a lot from it.

0 Responses to “The continuing adventures of the Littlest Yellow-And-A-Half Belt”

  1. wishwords

    But I like feeling myself become familiar with a different style of movement.
    I know this exact feeling! Except in belly dance. It’s so rewarding.

  2. astres

    I hate being told I’m screwing something up when I already know that.

    Same here! I was at capoeira and was having problems doing a sequence with a cartwheel because of hip pain so I substituted a kick. But everyone kept say, “Nooo, it’s a CARTWHEEL.” and I lost it.

  3. diatryma

    The being-wrong thing was one of the disharmonies between me and my karate teacher in college. He would point something out– same thing as always– and I’d basically nod and think, “Yes. I know my heel is not on the floor. I balance on my toes. Help me fix that issue, and I bet I’ll improve on those others.” But how does one ask, “I’d like my foot to stay on the floor. How?”

    • Marie Brennan

      I don’t mean to imply that my teachers are failing to help me fix the issue. They’re just (sometimes) calling me on the things I’m trying to fix.

      Sorry about that teacher, though — he doesn’t sound very helpful.

  4. icedrake

    Can I geek out about martial arts to you, then?

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