Yet again my knowledge of karate has proven to be woefully lacking in substance – it’s like biting into a Creme Egg only to find an empty centre. That empty centre is my head.
You’ve probably done it too…you know, when you see someone do something that looks so blooming easy, you wonder what all the fuss is about? Yeah, I could do that. Easy. It’s a cinch.
Then you try it.
This, my friends, is a debilitating syndrome from which I suffer the most acute form: fairground stall sucker. This is one’s inept ability to see things that look simple and think (without a shadow of doubt) – “I can do that!” only to find out moments later that I cannot. (note to self – never apply to play The Cube). My first memorable experience of this was aged 8, spending my entire summer holiday pocket-money on an amusement machine in the vain attempt to win a transformer by hooking it with a metal arm. The money I spent trying to win Optimus Prime…sheesh.
This penchant for being suckered into other “oh it HAS to be easy” tasks have blighted me even up to this day include:
***throwing a 180 in darts
***break dancing (any dancing, come to think of it)
***any form of DIY
***go karting (something to do with a weight disadvantage, apparently?)
***football (if only the ball was egg-shaped and I could pick it up!?!)
***sculpting washboard abs (ahem, note to wife: I am still working on that one)
***juggling (no “balls” jokes please, let’s keep this clean)
***breathing in Sanchin kata
Yes folks, you are one step ahead here. I have managed to think something in karate was easy, but in fact it’s harder to do than a jumbled up rubics cube. Sanchin kata. More specifically, the breathing in the kata.
In a nutshell, this kata looks stupidly simple
Super slow moves, and not many different moves with a corresponding breath for each move. From the outside, you look at a fellow karate student (karate-ka) doing it and they should look calmer than a swan gliding across a mill pond. Bliss. The serenity only occasionally interrupted by the hiss of breath. Simple, yeah.
Sensei had us do it last week. I had only observed it before and this was my first time. My goodness. For doing nothing I was sweating like a racehorse and my breathing was worse than cat coughing up a fur-ball. Not so much ‘hiss-like’ but rather more splutter, splutter, cough, cough, wheeeeeeeze. Combine that with me ‘trying’ to stand still. Jesus wept. I know I am crap at multi-tasking, like having a conversation at the same time as watching the TV (impossible), but this was taking the Michael. Come on, I mean things like standing and breathing – I seriously thought I had that combo sorted from the age of 16 months. Apparently not.
Upon further inspection, I guess breathing and standing in the way Sanchin prescribes is very, very different. I hadn’t thought about breathing other than when swimming. I can hear all you yoga experts tutting at me now. Apparently I have been missing a trick. I am off to read a book about the Hara, circular breathing and yoga.
I think also that I will take a leaf from the Japanese. They had it sussed out several millennia ago with the proverb, “One thousand days to learn it. Ten thousand days to refine it.”
If you are interested, 10,000 days = 27 years. Gulp. Ask me how I am doing with my Sanchin kata in the year 2038.