I barly made it in. I feel out of place, like I know I won't belong. Why am I doing this again? Oh yeah, just to say that I tried. I am going to get all sweaty and I am going to hate it but I need to be able to say I tried. Deep breath, and let's get in there.
The waiting room is tiny. Several parents are chatting away about their kid's school, their kid's teachers, their kid's homework, well just their kids. They all seem to know each other very well from what I can gather from the kind of conversations they are having. No one asked me what I wanted there, so I figured that none of them work here.
On the other side if the large glass windows is a large room with blue and red mats all over the floor. The kids are being lined up at one end of the room and are being sent to the other end to kick a pad and run back in line. Whenever they goof off, a large man with a very large beard makes them do push-ups. He has this very deep voice. He seems very serious and I wasn't getting that warm friendly vibe from him at all.
Class was over and the kids come streaming out of the room, most still wearing uniforms, gathering jackets and tying shoes. The man came out and asked me if he could help me. I told him I was there about karate lessons. I think he was a bit surprised when he asked if they were for one of my kids and I told him that it was for me.
A young woman walked out of the large room and "Shihan" handed me off to her. He explained that he had somewhere he had to go and that "Sempai" Kristen would take care of me. Sempai Kris stands about 5' 5" and has long brown hair held up in a bun. She might be 130 pounds and is swimming in her uniform, it is so big on her.
Sempai Kris brought me to a little changing room to leave my things. When we came out, we went to the front of this huge room, the dojo. It was lined with mirrors. A large man,named Sempai Scott did warm up stretching, then Sempai Kristen took me to the back of the room. This is where, she told me that the new students get a one on one to learn the basic moves.
First thing she showed me was how to make a fist. She held up her hand and closed it, starting from her pinky finger, to her index finger, then finally the thumb. Kris explained that if your thumb was on the inside of your fist, you would wind up breaking your own thumb. I can honestly say, that I don't know which way I closed a fist because I never paid attention to it. Now I will be thinking about it, I will do it wrong.
Kris is a very warm person. Playful in nature. I really like her.
She showed me a middle punch, and it had a fancy name. One of the words was chewdon, (Kris says "remember chewdon like you chew food to your stomach, so you hit to the stomach". One hand, is turned up and pulled back as if you were trying to elbow someone coming up behind you. That hand is tight against your rib case. The other hand, come out to punch in the stomach. Then you switch. The hand that has punched, gets pulled back, twisting your hand so your fist faces up, and get put tight against your rib cage (as high up as you can). It is called chambering. The hand that was back before comes out (and twists so it is down) and punches to the stomach. There are these mirrors in front of me so it is like I am hitting myself in the tummy. Next set of punches if the same thing, but to the head. Jodan, like Jordon, like Michael Jordan is tall, so hit up to the head. She counts them off in Japanese.
After just a few punches up high, Sempai Kris asks me if I have had any martial arts experience before. I say no, cause I haven't. She told me that I am picking up on it really fast.A few more punches and she asked about if I had any experience fighting at all. Besides fighting in the playground in elementary, no I haven't. I don't think it really counted as fighting. (I was the big kid that the girl's, who liked to fight picked on to feel like they could fight. I won some, I lost some, but the fights I won were just because of size, not skill)
A few more different punches, more praise. I am thinking this is how they get people to stay, flattery. Now we are on to blocks, which were less than graceful. There is this one block where one hand is chambered (up high on the rib cage), the other is down by your groin. Then you take the hand that is chambered, put it up to your opposite ear, swing your arm down, while the other hand comes up strong into chamber. It is this weird criss-cross thing. It was funny. I was fumbling around, mixing up my hands. There were more blocks too.
I liked this one block where the chambered hand (punch and block had a chambered hand) come out and touches your rib cage, the other hand come up and touches your shoulder, like you are giving yourself a hug. Then that bottom hand swings up into a block. I don't remember what that one is called, but it was the one I was best at.
Lesson was over, and I didn't hate it, but actually liked it, a lot. I am in trouble, because I had an awesome lesson and definitely want more. Sempai Kristen was really cool to be around. I didn't feel like I didn't belong, I didn't feel fat and clumsy, I felt like I really wanted to come back. I asked her about other classes they had. She told me about the next class they were having, kickboxing. I asked her if I could stay and watch and she told me that I could do it!!!! So I stayed, and geared up, well gloves anyway.