Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sick and Tired

Sick and Tired

Been sick and tired here- not of Karate, I should hasten to add: instead of Karate; business meetings until 22:30 last night and been working an eight day a week schedule. On Saturday afternoon I sat here in front of my PC thinking about all the issues wracking up. Adding to my misery, my bad shoulder's sullen aching, the pain of which comes and goes in waves that no hospital here has been able to explain, had turned into angry throbbing with sharp twinges. (To fight that I got METI to give me a better chair and stacked my monitor up near the ceiling, making me push my shoulders back to stop the hunch forward.)

Compounding that, last week my left lower leg decided to seize up- the bottom calf muscles all the way up decided to lock up in an on-off semi-permanent cramp. Oh the irony last week when I did manage to put in a practice, we were focusing on Heian Sandan. Being 80kg I sure can stomp!

Compounding that, it was past 16:00 and we'd already missed Isaka Sensei's class.

There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like a total loser because you feel sick and you missed practice, and yet you want to practice, but you think if you do make the effort, it's wasted because you are sick and you can't get the most out of the session. Then, you remember Moving Zen- you walk on that dojo floor and you must accept the rigors and responsibilities of the grade you accepted.

At about 16:30 I found myself trapped in a classic double bind conversation with myself: if I go now I might injure myself, or just feel ashamed I can't do my best. If I don't go, if I give up, I can compensate by working or studying to use the time I didn't train, but...
So you can guess where the argument is leading. One of my oldest friends James, who is a 3rd dan in Kendo (his wife Aki is former UK Kendo Champion) once told me what his Sensei at the Noma Dojo had told him...
....feeling sick? Go to the dojo.
....feeling tired and down? Go to the dojo.
....hangover? Go to the dojo.
....don't feel like going to the dojo? Go to the dojo.
....no time to go to the dojo? Go to the dojo!!!
So we went to the dojo.
Got in late, rushed into my dogi and immediately walked into trouble; straight in, no warm up. The first half hour was hell; left leg cramping, left shoulder so painful can't lift arm above shoulder easily.
No rest for the wicked.
Why do I bother with this I am thinking?
Ibusuki Sensei says "Too weak Paul-san, stronger!" and then focuses on me nearly every technique.
I feel like garbage- I am embarrassed because I pride myself on my work rate and commitment (making up for lack of skill) and my lack of stamina- I am sweating and panting away like I have just run a marathon, not a paltry 30 maegeri. Just keep on going....
...and going...
Half an hour later, I am banging along like an HGV in the overtaking lane with the pedal to the metal- my gosh I may not be a Honda NSX but the sun is out, the sky is blue, I am in the groove and, well, it's almost too good to be true.
I can't ever say that Karate is a solution to stress or psychosomatic illness, or even a dose of old fashioned self pity: I found a solution by just getting on with it- and the discipline of putting your best foot forward (or your left, in the case of going into zenkutsu-dachi) in the dojo is priceless. Before I started Karate, I would have gone down the pub. Now at least I go down the pub feeling great after at least trying my best at Karate.
The old bromides are the best ones? Yosh!!!



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