Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My Memorial Day Weekend

First of all I really didn't do anything significant to the holiday.

I went to karate camp.

I packed up four kids, a tent, and a van-load of gear and drove a bit less than 20 miles to unload it all again. My 9 and 11 year olds wanted to camp and this way we were close enough to bail out if they couldn't handle the reality of "out in a tent overnight."

Camp was great. Primarily it seems to be about gathering upper level people from all over, who may have their own Kojosho Karate schools, so they have an opportunity to compare notes and get some instruction themselves. A handful of color belts who are local get to go too and it's just mind-blowing.

The most fun thing was applying the wind element to self-defense holds. I'm talking about those "someone grabs you and ends up with their arm twisted behind their back" things. I hate those. It's not just that I forget how to do them, it's that I can never figure it out to start. We had spent the morning doing the 18 animals and elements postures having to squint our eyes shut when gusts of wind picked up the dust and after lunch Mr. Absher said that we were missing an opportunity to work with wind.

I never did quite get wind when we were doing postures, you sort of swirl around twice before starting the next element, but even doing it so wrong I could feel the wind in the movement. Doing the self-defense moves with wind was the first time they ever made sense to me. I think it's because I wasn't moving my foot "there" and my hands "this way" and shifting my weight "like that." Instead of separate things it was one thing. And it worked. Very much too cool for words.

Also too cool for words was the opportunity to recieve instruction from Mr. Absher. He actually spent quite a bit of time with the three children at the camp and I wonder if he likes that because they don't know enough to get all stressed around him. I get stressed. After working out for two days and sleeping in a tent *nothing* looks right, certainly not that rising block, and you want it to *be* right. And you just *know* that he's going to think that your little blue belt traumas are silly... but he doesn't. And somehow he watches for just a moment and tells you the one thing that makes an abstract form make sense in application.

I'm very new and just getting to know people. I recall someone saying that we don't have masters, only students. So far I've never heard someone call anyone Sensei and certainly not Master... other than behind Mr. Absher's back. The "old guys" seem to want everyone to know why there is a note of awe in their voice when they describe the man who spent at least part of this last weekend helping three little girls collect pine cones.


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8:08 PM  

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