Throughout the year I’ve stockpiled random photos to eventually use on my blog. Many of them never made it. Today seems as good a day as any to finally post them.
Category Archives: martial arts
“Wherefore art thou, Jiu-Jitsu?”
I’m pretty sure that’s what Juliet would’ve said if she’d more wisely fallen in love with martial arts than that Montague guy. I’ll bet things would’ve turned out better for her. Oooh! Oooh! New book series idea: Shakespeare but with martial arts! Who wouldn’t want to read that? We’ll still keep any and all swordplay, however, because swords are awesome.
Anyway… I’ve only sat in on Jiu-Jitsu twice since The Incident two and half months ago. That’s because I’ve been relying on Sensei to go with me for safety reasons (after dark, on crutches). His availability has been sparse. But this past Monday, I told myself I was going with or without him.
For reasons I can’t quite parse out, I was nervous about going back. It’s been so long. Why should I bother? What’s the use? Are the guys going to get tired of asking how I’m you doing followed by some sentiment like “Hope you get better soon”? It’s dark and cold out. Wouldn’t I rather be at home where it’s warm and light?
All those thoughts were running through my mind as I waited for my girls to finish Taekwondo. As in the good old days, Hubby picked them up after class, so I could scoot directly to Jiu-Jitsu. Still, I could just follow them home if I wanted to wuss out.
Then Sensei came out of the gym. “Last chance to come with me to Jiu-Jitsu,” I said.
“Rain check. But I can follow you over there if you like.”
“Okay.” The gyms are close to one another, so I wasn’t putting Sensei out much.
As I pulled into the parking lot, the sight of the bright lights, broad windows, and gi-clad students inside the dojo made me smile. That old warm feeling of “Ahhh, Jiu-Jitsu” returned.
Sensei parked near me and escorted me to the door.
“Were you afraid no one would see you and open the door for you?”
“I don’t know, maybe,” I shrugged. “This is just easier.”
When he pulled the door open for me, I immediately heard “Hey, Betsy!” from Instructor.
“Hi!” I said and shot a quick smile back to Sensei by way of thanks. Apparently it wasn’t enough, or he was making sure I was all right. He walked along the sidewalk outside, in the opposite direction of his car, while I headed to the benches inside. I met his eye through the window and gave him a big toothy grin, hoping that would suffice for a farewell, since I couldn’t exactly wave. (I didn’t bring the wheelchair because crutches are easier to get around on.)
Finally got an MRI. Here’s what I learned + pictures!
Note: the pics have nothing to do with the story (until the end) but add a little levity, I hope. 🙂
The Saturday after Thanksgiving is an excellent time to get a procedure done. I was worried about finding close parking (wish I had a handicap sticker hanger thingy), or any parking, but the lot was all but empty. Score!
When a technician asked what I had done to my foot, I explained it was a martial arts injury. More details appeared to me needed. “Jiu-jitsu,” I replied. More still. “I sort of bent it backwards toward my leg.” And yet more. “It was a double leg takedown.” For the record, this person did not have the air of someone who does or knows much about martial arts.
Later I overheard this conversation being relayed to another technician who laughed at “double leg takedown.”
When worlds collide
I’d been keeping my dalliance with Jiu-Jitsu a secret from my Taekwondo sensei for fear he might feel cheated on.
But, of course, he had to ask how I hurt my foot. So, of course, I had to come clean. And, of course, he didn’t believe me.
Which was insulting. Did he not think I could kick butt in multiple disciplines? But he covered with something about me being sarcastic and therefore hard to believe.
“So, is this a new thing you’ve started?” he asked, once I’d finally convinced him.
“Uuuuumm… Well. Since the end of last year, actually.”
“Huh,” he said.
Then I employed the line Chatter Master suggested to me months ago: “Thank you for helping me discover a love for martial arts that made me want to learn even more.”
He nodded. [Well done, CM!] “Jiu-Jitsu is good self defense,” he admitted. “Any fight that lasts more than six or eight seconds is bound to end up on the ground. This is good for you to learn.”
“So you’re not upset with me?”
He shook his head. Then he said, “I had no idea you had a secret double life.”
I like the sound of that.
Next I said the thing my Jiu-Jitsu instructor suggested months ago: “Do you want to maybe come check out a class with me?”
Lo and behold:
I wish I had gotten a picture of my two instructors shaking hands. If anyone felt the earthquake, that’s what caused it.
Sensei just wanted to observe, so we sat on the side together. I can’t participate because of my injury, but it was good to be there to try to keep up with the training/not forget everything.
It was cool doing this with Sensei when I’m already advanced in Jiu-Jitsu so I could answer his questions and demonstrate, from my seated position, the rationale behind different types of grabs. It was interesting to hear his comments, too, notably: “He’s a good teacher,” which I shared with Instructor later.
On the whole, Sensei enjoyed himself, thinks he may take a trial class down the road, and said it seems like a good group of people I “paid in advance to talk to me so it looked like I had friends.”
The part I didn’t tell you.
This post could also be called: Seriously? Again with the foot?!
I’m afraid so, friends.
Somewhere around my fourth or fifth Jiu-Jitsu drill attempt, I crunched my left foot beneath me. (Yep, that one again.) I drove my knee to the ground, as planned, but somehow didn’t leave enough space for my foot to flip over so the shoelace side would be down. Instead, with my knee to the ground, my foot started to flatten bottom-side down.
Go ahead and see what that must be like. I’ll wait.
You see? No bueno.
I kept going anyway, but then put my hand down when I wasn’t supposed to, so, knowing we’d have to redo it for that mistake anyway, I called a halt.
I just chilled, breathed through the pain, and a couple minutes later, was back on my feet, pain-free.
Isn’t the human body amazing? I’m guessing adrenaline kicked in and carried the day. I didn’t feel any more pain until sometime later, back at home, when I was walking around a bunch, out of necessity, and was like, “Huh. My foot hurts.”
I finished helping make pretzels for the Taekwondo belt ceremony and continued with my life. (Yep, same day. It was a productive one!)
Thank goodness this Taekwondo class was only a belt ceremony and not a normal lesson in all its running, jumping, kicking glory. There was, however, a bit of running: up to receive the belt, certificate, and Grey Poupon mustard packet. (That makes zero sense if you haven’t first read this.) Then running backwards to my spot on the floor. Afterward was just a bunch of standing around, talking, eating, and joking about decades-old commercials.
Though I again felt zero pain at the ceremony, once home, I was limping.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again in a different language.
You may recall my failed attempt to get a reaction from my Taekwondo “Sensei” when I convinced my compatriots to count our 25 jumping jacks in Korean.
So, you know, a normal person would leave it at that.
And then there’s me.
“New plan, girls,” I told my daughters. “Sensei spent the first nine years of his life in Germany. Next time, let’s count auf Deutsch!” (I know a little German from my semester in Austria.)
“Groan,” said Youngest Daughter.
“Eh, whatever,” said Middle Daughter.
“That would be hilarious,” said Oldest Daughter.
“Yes! She gets it! Let’s do it!” Apparently one vote was all I needed.
And this time? THIS time, Sensei…
How NOT to make churros
The next class after Taekwondo testing is the belt ceremony. As you can guess, we get our new belts. Then we eat stuff.
I had the “brilliant” idea of making churros tied in the shape of belts. Easy peasy. My daughters helped. It probably would’ve been better had I left them to it and stayed out of the kitchen.
The recipe said something like 1/4 cup of water only.
“That’s not enough water. It’s too brittle. They’re falling apart,” said I, who has little successful baking experience.
So I added more water. Then, since I had more water in the cup, I tossed in the rest, thinking, why not?
Welp, it was no longer brittle. It was an icky sticky mess.
And, OF COURSE, the piping bag broke. One daughter shoved batter through the little pipe piece by hand.
But you know what else works? Cutting off the corner of a Ziplock freezer bag. We eventually got there.
Anyway, the consistency was off, our fingers were a mess, getting the batter to the tip was difficult because it preferred to stick to our hands and the inside of the bag–not where the hole was. So we had to shove it down with our dough-covered fingers. Then get it back off our fingers, shove again, repeat, etc.
We eventually got them out of the bag and tied into knots like martial arts belts. Amazingly, they still sometimes broke despite my excess addition of water.
Then again, it’s not amazing since this is me we’re talking about.
Sensei tried to extricate one part from its “knot,” so, clearly, the desired effect was lost on him. I had to explain that they were belts.
We left some the normal color for the person receiving her orange belt. And for the four new purple belts:
So, not a total loss. I joked with Sensei that I accidentally left the one we burnt black for him at home.
He didn’t laugh. He did eat like three of them, though.
When he was packing up his gear, I tucked another churro into the package of cookies he brought. I thought it was a nice gesture. Hubby thought it looked like I was trying to get rid of them. What do you think?
Crazy with a purple belt
My girls and I are now officially halfway to our black belts in Taekwondo.
I thought it would be fun to jazz up our testing and surprise Sensei by counting off our 25 warm up jumping jacks in Korean instead of English.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to see his face when we began: “Hana, dhul, set, net, daseot…” I imagined him, eyebrows raised, failing to fight down a smile.
And how did he respond?
With nary a flinch. When we finished, he said, “Okay, next drill…”
Zero acknowledgement whatsoever!
I was so disappointed.
During testing of the form itself, two people test at once. Because it’s always been my style to mess something up, I turned right when I was supposed to turn left. Fortunately, I had the sense of mind to course correct and continue unfazed.
On the way out, I said to Sensei, “I trust you were looking at the other person when I messed up?”
“Yes. I didn’t see your 17 mistakes.”
So he CAN still be funny.
“Furthermore,” I continued, “how can we count in Korean and you not react at all?”
“I can react with my ears. I heard you. And was that to earn bonus points?”
“Well, if it helps.”
“Do you know the next number, or did you only learn what you needed?”
He nodded. “Good.”
If anything, I earned points in that moment.
BTW, I was out of town for several days. You know how when you board a plane, there’s that patch of walkway from airport to airplane where there’s no AC? When I stood in that spot, waiting my turn to board, I thought, “Whew! What is this heat?!” So I checked my phone.
Guess who’s limping again?
Okay, even I admit this is getting ridiculous.
In Taekwondo, we were doing jump spin crescent kicks. Sounds cool, doesn’t? Looks cool, too.
When Sensei does it. When I do it, I look like I’m having a mid-air seizure.
But I land on my toes.
Not in a graceful ballerina way, but in a, “Crunch. There go my toes,” way.
No idea why my toes are 90’s male stoners.
Aside from the above, I had planned to stop posting bruise pics, but I was oddly excited to discover not a bruise, but a bump!
This did eventually turn into a delightfully colorful bruise.