How Not To Make A Good Impression At Your Karate Class

I didn't make a Good Impression At My Karate ClassJune 8th, 2013– Dear Secret Diary, I can’t believe what you let me do at my Karate class today.  It was only my second class, I felt like a fish out of water, and my legs spent much of the class hour burning.  While this might be OK (or not) on a weekday, it was not even 11:00 on Saturday morning. 

But fortunately, by the time I was heading home, I felt good that I had yet to say or do anything thing that would brand me as a problem child or troublemaker or otherwise embarrass myself.

Now for a bit of background, I played on an intramural gym hockey league in high school. The guys (including me) named our team “The Exterminators”.  We were a pretty ragged bunch.  A couple of us had some amount of skill; the other two were “enforcers”, basically running rampant around the gym creating mischief and mayhem and banging their bodies against any other body that happened to be nearby, regardless of which team owned the body.  If it was a body, my teammates were going to hit it first, and ask questions later.

The toughest check I sustained in two years of play was graciously bestowed on me by one of my own “enforcer” teammates.  Ironically, this fellow and I are still close to this day, and he’s a brilliant guy who advises me on a variety of legal and other business matters.  Needless to say, I follow his advice to the letter out of fear of my body’s well being. 🙂

So out of the blue a couple of years ago, my pal sent me the “Exterminate” shirt you see me wearing in the photo.  Of course, because of our history and the delicious irony of me in a shirt that says “exterminate” (I may be many things but bruiser/enforcer is not one of them*), I love this shirt.

Well after class today in the locker-room, my teacher, or Sensei as he or she is termed in Karate, was kindly took the time to share with me some Karate philosophy.  I found what he said fascinating but one idea particularly so.  To paraphrase my beginning understanding, he said that as one’s skills grow, the chances of getting into messy situations decline.  Or stated differently, increased fighting skills learned in the proper way increase interest and ability in making peace.

Only on the way home, however, did I realize that, as I was trying to scratch the surface of Sensei’s locker-room teaching about skill and peace, I was simultaneously changing into my “Exterminate” t-shirt.

Sadly, I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy this shirt in the same way going forward.  (I certainly won’t bring it to Karate class.)  Moreover, I guess I’ll be calling myself “Grasshopper” for a really long time.


* If you still harbor any illusion that I am anywhere close to being an enforcer or bruiser, A) Thank You :-), and B) My Secret Diary entry, “What A Demotivating Workout”, should further clarify.