The Littlest Blue-with-Black-Stripe Belt Goes Back to Class (with bonus gimpy feet)
I thought I’d be out of karate for two months following the surgery, but my orthopedist and physical therapist both said I could go back sooner, provided I wore the brace and paid close attention to what my ankle had to say. Fortunately, after thirteen years of ballet and other dance training, I am very good at listening to my feet.
So yesterday I returned to class, and god, was it a relief. Seeing people, stretching, getting some exercise . . . and it turned out better than I expected, actually. There are things I can’t do: jumping, for example. And my balance on that foot is very sketchy right now, so kicks are kind of off the menu (of course the senpai running the warm-up chose to do a kick combination across the floor that day). But the only thing really interfering with my ability to move is that I can’t pivot sharply; ask me to move from a left-hand punch to a right-hand one and I’m fine, but reverse the order and I have to just kind of mark it. It’s bloody hard to do sharp movements with the upper half of your body and cautious ones with the lower half, especially when you’ve been working and working and working at integrating your whole body rather than moving in parts.
Kumite (sparring) is still way in my future, but at least I can do kata, cautiously. As I said to several people, even if I could only do 40% of the work, that’s still a lot more than the 0% I had before. And it turns out I can do more than 40%. This makes me very pleased indeed.