First, I want to say that I really like karate. Maybe you’re wondering what kind of karate I’m talking about so I’m going to state for the record that I started out doing Kempo, and now it’s Shoren Ru or some other such name like that, but for all I care, it’s just Regular Karate.
Regular Karate is the kind where you learn how to punch and kick people, and you feel like you’re TOUGH. You can kick some ASS. You can take someone out (Not that you would, but technically, you could. Although, I’m not sure I could, but that’s the theory.) It’s especially cool if you get to wear the black gi pants, but if you have to wear the white ones (let’s face it, what girl really prefers to wear white pants, especially baggy ones, unless you’re getting paid lots of money to do a Tampax commercial?) you will still feel cool when you do things like roundhouse kicks and elbow strikes. I’m noticing, though, that the further I get into this, the more I run into things that strike fear into my heart. Things like: BREAK FALL. TWO MILE RUN. And most recently…
Oh my GOD! Am I actually going to have to hit someone in the groin? Worse, is someone going to groin strike me?? You know, not that we actually hit each other hard when we’re practicing, but when you’re doing a chin strike for example, you make contact with the chin. GROIN STRIKE. YIKES!!
When the sensei was demonstrating, I paid careful attention. How was he handling it? Although, could I even use him as an example? He’s the SENSEI, for crying out loud, of course he can handle a groin strike with aplomb! Ah, I saw that he pretended to strike, but stopped just short, which was convenient for the other person (in this case, the victim, or was that the attacker?) who then had to grab the wrist to prevent the groin strike.
Oh, did I tell you that I have personal space issues?
I have personal space issues.
And my partner for the day was a young man. Oh my. I could do this. I was not a wimp. The drill began with a two handed bear hug (personal space!) by the attacker to pin down the victim’s arms. I stood in front of my partner, ready to pin down his arms. Suddenly, a pair of black belts (conveniently, a young man and a young woman) came to our rescue. Whewww… I don’t have to pretend to grab the groin of a young man, but you know, pretending to grab the groin of a young woman is just as bad (worse? Just as bad in a different way?). Now, boobs were an issue. I don’t want to hug someone with boobs unless it’s one of my sisters or a really good friend and one of us is really happy or having an emotional meltdown (Did I tell you…? Nevermind.)
I got past the awkwardness by concentrating on remembering the next step and feeling awkward about that instead. Those black belts – in addition to having mastered all sorts of ways to kick ass, they have also mastered the issue of personal space.
I’ve done this drill a few more times since that first time, but it’s still not my favorite. I’d rather pretend to chop someone in the bicep, hyperextend their arm, or even bend them over and get them in a headlock while they turn and pretend to bite my leg. The next time the bear-hug-then-groin-strike drill comes up, I’m going to try and concentrate only on the fact that I’m learning to kick ass.