“If it hurts, just kiai louder!”
–Roeder-sensei (karate instructor)
Oh my god, I feel fucking great.
I went to an Indonesian kung fu class at a dojo near the apartment, and it was awesome. Small class (just 4 of us plus the sensei), and he was good about letting me be gentle and test how things are working with my back. He’s even worked with other students with back issues, so that’s good. We did a bunch of different strikes, some basic forms, and some self-defense.
I trained in US Yoshukai Karate when I was in college, and I got halfway to my black belt. There’s a lot of the kung fu stuff that’s similar to Yoshukai, particularly stances and forms. (I guess they’re not called katas in kung fu?) So I didn’t look like a total idiot.
I’m SO out of shape, though. I am gonna be really sore tomorrow–but I tend to like that kind of productive soreness. I’m going to do classes 2 times a week, so I ought to get back in shape fairly quickly. I remember Yoshukai stopped being so grueling after the first couple-three months, though I was working out 3-4 times a week and was in better shape to start with. But hopefully it won’t take too long to get back in shape.
I’m trying not to make losing weight a goal in this, but I can’t help but hope I do shed some of it. Since it’s just a small dojo and not a big gym like I had access to at the university, it won’t be easy to get into over-exercising like I was then, and that’s good.
I also liked the self-defense aspect. We did some of that in Yoshukai, but at the kung fu class, the sensei was really emphasizing tone of voice and body language as the first step, then escapes if necessary, and violence as a last resort. I like that. I like to think that I’d be able to hurt someone if I needed to, but I’m honestly not sure I could. I think that, particularly for women, it’s vital to learn body language and tone of voice stuff because we’re taught to be quiet, nice, submissive. Often a look and/or a clear “Don’t touch me” is enough to get someone to back off.
I’m remembering how powerful I felt when I was studying Yoshukai–not so much the physical power as just the self assurance, knowing that I was capable of defending myself if I needed to. I like that feeling. And I want to keep it.