Who knew breathing was so difficult!?!

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.
Doh!

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Fight, fly or freeze?

Contrary to popular belief, I did not start karate to understand what it was like to get smacked in the face. Nope. No sir-eeee. You may have guessed already from the title of this blog that I now understand the basics of reptilian reflex better than Professor Brian Cox understands the universe. That statement is pure fact blended with a good serving of exaggeration.

This blog starts with a massive caveat – Goju Ryu karate is not full-contact in the dojo – it never is otherwise we’d all be constantly in hospital. But you do get hit from time to time and every now and again, fist meets flesh and feet meet testicles (hilarious for onlookers, disastrous for the recipient).

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I have found my fighting forte

Imagine the surprised look on my wife’s face when I came home from karate, proudly announcing that I had fought with everyone in the dojo (barring Sensei, of course) and won every single bout!

Yes folks, I have found my forte. Sumo. (stop laughing…I can hear you sniggering) Continue reading

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Exorcising my athletic ghost

Ok, so far my blogs have established that I am less fit than the average person. Safe to say that I am in the bottom quartile of fitness, ie 75% of the population are fitter than me. That is pretty rubbish. Continue reading

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Grading – yellow belt (9th kyu)

Grading – yellow belt (9th kyu)

The air of mystery that surrounds a karate grading session is palpable – it’s like you’ve got to get somewhere really important, without a map that points out what you might encounter along the way and knowing that you are going to be tested at each intersection. Me and my trusty karate partner (Jamie “van Damme” Boulter) had been asking our fellow Goju Ryu comrades, “what’s the score with grading?”, “what happens during a grading session?” Each time the answers were as vague as a Conservative Party manifesto, with recurring words like ‘tough’, ‘militant’ and ‘you’ll be fine’ feeding our appetite for worry. Even the Sensei was vague.

My conclusion? Grading must be a right of passage – a kind of warrior test, the element of the unknown is necessary and adds to the sense of occasion. And what an occasion it turned out to be.
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The karate nursery kid

Admittedly, this blog is mostly a knee-jerk reaction to the fact a 5-year-old has beaten me to yellow belt (well done Sam!), but this blog is about the argument of ability versus experience. Continue reading

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Boldly going where no push-up of mine has gone before

Do you remember the 80’s TV programme Super Stars? Well I feel like I am training to take part. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it was the original gladiator – people pitted against each other – the winner was the fittest, strongest contestant. They did some wacky exercises/games, but the one that sorted the men from the boys was the humble press up. Continue reading

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