A lot has been going on for me this week. It’s all good, some moderately stressful but that’s life. Things will eventually get on an even keel around here. The important thing for me is trying to keep my nearest and dearest on an even keel and making sure I stay on one too throughout the transitions.
Some of the positive stresses this week have unsurprisingly involved some different experiences in training. I have written about the 2 classes in grappling style techniques ( See here ) which I attended last weekend.
Midweek I attended the second Self defence seminar of the year at Dojo dai Ni which was a great reminder of what we learned last time with some further extensions. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I remembered (especially since this is the important things – kind of like emergency karate kit to “carry” around in case the need to use it arises).
The other thing I discovered was more personal. When I wrote about being attacked in “Not just another one of the guys” ( https://sagiashidachi.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/not-just-another-one-of-the-guys/ ), I didn’t go into what actually happened. It isn’t because I don’t remember it though. In fact in one of my really early karate lessons at Dojo dai Ichi we talked about being held around the neck in a choke and what to do. I must have gone a funny shade (possibly matching my gi) because Sensei dai Ichi asked if I was ok / if I was comfortable with trying it before we practised with each other.
Truth be told, I was having a flash back. I don’t get them often and they aren’t really a problem….but that was what was happening. You see, when I was attacked, I was grabbed from behind around my neck. The attacker (as I mentioned in the other post) was a nut case; he threatened to stab me (I don’t think he actually had any weapons, although it wasn’t top of my priorities to find out for certain) but his only intention, (I am certain in hindsight), was to exert power over me / scare me.
Anyway, part of training karate for me has been to step outside my comfort zone, so in that lesson, I tried out the choke / getting out of it, with my training partner, and yes, it was still a bit “challenging” for me, but I was ok. I was then still at the stage, after nearly 20 years post attack, of being a bit freaked out about anyone (even my husband) touching me on my neck.
So fast forwarding now to the Self Defence Seminar on Wednesday. After we had gone through basic defence drills (I like to remember it this way: “stop right there, hello, look at the lovely ceiling, I will take your hand, have a seat, try out my hand as a necklace and feel my knee caress your side”……I wish I took a video of us practising this so I could post it), talked about defensive postures and “da fence” (see Christopher Thompson’s “fence concept” via google as I think the idea may originally have been his) and talked about scenarios and de-escalation tactics, we talked in gender groups about other scenarios we would like to discuss. The 3 the women wanted to know about were – 1. escape from bear hug, 2. escape from a choke (+/- up against a wall) and 3. escape from being pinned on the ground. Guess who got to be the test dummy for scenario 1 and 2? (Hint it wasn’t one of the 3 uni students who had come for the seminar). (Incidentally we deal with number 3 separately – I went to that class last year…..compulsory to shower before that one!!).
So there I was, up against a wall, in a choke put on by Sensei dai Ni (first a muscle choke – which is what someone who doesn’t know what they are doing is more likely to do, and then in a blood choke). Granted I was expecting it and I knew I could tap out if I needed to (did with the blood choke as it isn’t comfortable and I do need a blood supply to my brain!) but it was only later when I was talking about it too my husband and telling him what we learned that I actually realised, I had been totally fine with it and not freaked out at all. Same with the bear hug. What’s more I remembered what to do.
Thursday night was grading at Dojo dai San. I have been graded twice at Dojo dai Ichi but this was the first time at Dojo dai San. I had read the syllabus and prepared as best as I could but there are some things you can’t prepare yourself for when you haven’t graded in that Dojo before. Mostly for me this was to do with etiquette differences and style differences, (for instance: I don’t know how I never noticed that in Dojo dai San they step right foot back to get into left foot forward Zenkutso dachi whereas I am pretty certain in the other 2 Dojo we step left foot forward), but there were also times when I just felt plain awkward following instructions for kihon in a particular stance only to discover that we were to take the initiative to move out of the stance to perform the techniques…..oh well – live and learn. There was one little girl taking her first grading like me but in 7th kyu. I was taking 6th but was asked to do the same techniques alongside her so that she didn’t feel on her own. She was really nervous to the point of crying and I felt for her. I think I coped (I think it was more of an emotional challenge) and it was a good way to stay warmed up. It did mean though I ended up doing 5 kata in total for one grading 🙂 – well there is one way to conquer kata-phobia! When all was said and done though, I passed and felt proud that I had managed to grade in another style, hopefully without corrupting my first style too much (though perhaps Sensei dai Ichi may not agree 😉 ).
Today, 2 of my training buddies, one from Dojo dai Ni and one from Dojo dai San, were participating in Senior Kyu grading and so I went along to watch. It was actually a great learning experience for me even though my primary reason for going was to cheer them on. My friends both did really well and achieved 1st Kyu and 3rd Kyu respectively. The other exciting thing that happened is that the Network welcomed another Dojo. Apparently this Dojo have a lot of high ranking women (including the Shihan who was on the grading panel) so I will have some new role models in future it seems. Plus I will now have more of an excuse to check out their classes one day.