More towels please

The last couple of training days have featured a lot of leg work. Concentrating more on using the legs and body than just using the arms. I am fairly guilty for using my arms, especially in a throwing context. The work we have been doing in the dojo has really highlighted for me the importance the legs and body have in strength, and how much less effort is required compared to when trying to muscle with just the arms.

I would have to say this mornings session with Sensei Sandra was my most physically demanding of the two weeks so far. Everyone’s favourite stance – shiko-dachi, was our challenge for today. There’s nothing quite like the burn in your legs from shiko-dachi to push your pain barrier. For me, holding a low position shiko-dachi for extended amounts of time is a real mental battle. It is really easy to stand up and have the pain go away, but the challenge is to work through the pain to show your perseverance. One of our exercises was using the Chi Ishi (short wooden stick with weighted end) in a figure eight motion with our wrists while shuffling in shiko-dachi across the dojo. This required more mental coordination than I had thought, and I struggled a lot with going backwards. After completing the session, you could say I was a bit more sweatier than usual.

There is something I like about sweating. It might be that it is a physical confirmation that I am working hard, it might also be the sound my gi makes when I scrape my arms against the side of my body. It is probably pretty gross for my classmates that need to throw me or get a flick of sweat to the face when I kick near them, but I still like something about it. In these hot conditions especially, the towels are required fairly often to make sure no one slips in a puddle. By the end of the night my towel needs to be rung out. Sorry if this grosses anyone out, but my reason behind telling you this is karate can be messy. If everyone was bone dry by the end of the night, do you think anyone had pushed themselves physically? I wear my “sweat badge” with pride and I hope the next time you feel the sweat drip down your forehead you can know that you are putting in an effort and you are there to make the most of your training.