Karate – Day 52
Apparently Beyoncé embodies an alter-ego when she goes out on stage and she has named her Sasha Fierce. Sasha is a bad-ass diva and as her name suggests, she is fierce. As I sat in front of the fire, looking out on the dark evening, I knew I needed to rouse myself off the sofa (as this is the SofaDodger challenge) and embody an alter-ego for my looming karate class. As I kissed goodbye to my roaring fire and a potential glass of wine, I felt more like Sasha Farce.
My Olly has been going to Karate at the Byrne Black Belt Academy for over a year now and Master Ed was more than happy for me to come down and give it a go with them. Thankfully it was not the same class as Olly’s. He may not have dealt with the embarrassment very well and I didn’t want to see that ashamed look in his eyes either.
This challenge has given me the fortunate position to have trained with a number of World Champions and an Olympian. This particular class was rammed full of World Champions – 6 of them in fact. I find that pretty amazing to think that in a village hall on the North coast of Cornwall, there was such a concentration of elite athletes…and me!
We started off with a warm-up. A light jog around the hall, adding in some air punches. Master Ed then called out a body part that had to touch the floor. Left hand, right hand, bottom…..nose, tummy! Thankfully my tummy didn’t have as far to travel to the ground as the others, so that actually proved to be a bit of an advantage. Next we partnered up and started progressing through sparring sequences.
I tightened my fist into a ball and prepared my two knuckles to rain down a volley of blows, in groups of 10 punches – then a rest – then again for a minute. After, as I uncoiled my fists to take the pads, I saw that I had left nail marks in the centre of my palm and my knuckles were starting to glow. At least, I could rest and hold the pads. Billy, my partner and World Champion in his class, went about speed punching to the point it became a bit of a blur, as I tried to maintain an upright position while being progressively pushed backwards. So much for a rest!
I’ve found in my other martial arts challenges that I really like a bit of a kick, specifically a roundhouse kick. I have tried to incorporate this into my general life and as it is called a roundhouse, I have literally started doing it “round the house.” I could be hanging out the washing and then roundhouse the washing machine or better still, give the sofa a good kicking. Maybe Father Christmas will bring me one of those hang from the ceiling punch bags to practise on – if somebody had said I would type that sentence a year ago, I would have had them down as doo-lally!
The only other thing about trying so many other types of combat sports is that I do start mixing up things I have learnt previously. So for instance, when presented with a pad to hit, I adopt a boxing technique and when I have to reverse punch, I seem to want to go in with an elbow, as taught in Krav Maga. This has moulded me into a fighter with no discernible skills and unclassified in my mode of combat. If my fighting style was to be compared, it would be to a bag of Liquorish Allsorts – you never know quite what you are going to get.
I don’t have a name for my alter-ego yet and these things should not be lightly considered, (especially as I can only think of the name Nancy Ninja) but I do have a mantra for this challenge and it is “Fake it Till You Make It.” I think Sir Richard Branson once said that and my interpretation is to be enthusiastic and give everything your all. I am not going to “make it” as a Karate champion but I was certainly happy to pretend that I could for one hour, especially around those particular classmates.
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