In late June, I completed an adaptive eight-week self defense course. I concluded the piece with the sentences: So even though I didn’t get a belt, I did get a cool t-shirt. The belt will follow. It has. Now I have a white belt, and to my amazement I will participate in a demonstration this Sunday at the West Chester YMCA.
From the web site: November 13, 3:00 – 5:00 pm Martial Arts Demo 605 Airport Road, West Chester Sponsored by the CerebralPalsy Association and Empty Hands Karate, an afternoon of fun and entertainment has been planned. A demonstration of martial arts will kick off the afternoon and light refreshments will follow. Come learn to use your disability to your advantage and find out more about the YMCA’s Adapted Sports Initiative. This event is FREE. RSVP for this event with Jess Honig at 610-524-5850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the self-defense course ended, a number of us wanted it to continue as a belt ranking course. That began around the autumnal equinox, and I’ve gone every sunday. Last week I formally received my white belt. It may not seem like much to some, since you get it for participating, but to me it means a lot.
The belt ranking course has a more rigorous feel, including a physical fitness portion. In class this often consists of lifting heavy exercise balls and doing push-ups. At home it now consists of lifting weights for an hour and doing push-ups. I can hardly believe that I’ve started working out for an hour every day, but since I try to spend comparable amount of time in meditation it feels like a good balance. The intense effort and change in lifestyle gives me the right to wear this belt.
After the workout, we get down to the martial arts portion. We have concentrated on three techniques which I will demonstrate. I will wait until the event to go over the juicy details, but suffice to say that all three defend against grabs, and one of them has a bunch of cool kicks. You will also love the ending, a real capper! These techniques will also demonstrate the use of a cane as a weapon, which feels very empowering since I always have one while in public.
Learning karate doesn’t just show you how to beat someone up. Learning karate teaches you a new kind of spacial and muscular awareness. I’ve taken an eight week course, plus this course has lasted for six or so weeks. In this time I have gained a finer sense of where people reside in relation to me in space. My muscles have started growing bigger and with it a better sense of their positions and functions. It continually amazes me how skills taught in class apply to normal life. Blind people will have learned the upper and lower protective positions, which translate over to blocks. A cane conveys all types of information. Women like guys who work out. I have already learned a lot in this class.
I feel honored to demonstrate these skills to the public. I’ve never done this before, but anticipate a smooth showing. Practice takes away pressure, as Sensei Ken reminded me. I even have a few jokes ready. If you live in the area I hope you can come and say hi. If not, I will have full coverage on my blog. This will include commentary, audio from my POV, and if someone can figure out how to hold my iPhone properly, video. See you on Sunday!