Dear Karate and Why My Life is Super Fun

26 03 2011

For the past five weeks I’ve had the novel experience of attending martial arts classes at the Z-Ultimate Defense Studio in Redmond. Initially I attended because my adopted kid brother James invited me. He and one of his best buds had signed up for some free intro classes and when I heard about it I was psyched. My near-superhero best friend did karate as a child and I remember watching her take class when we were kids. Even as a little squirt I found the whole concept intriguing but I was super busy with dance so karate was not an option.

Fast forward a decade and a half. I’m a lot taller, a good bit more massive (in the physics sense) and stoked. There is something super empowering about knowing that you can defend yourself if necessary. 

The first few private lessons were really basic. How to land a punch, how to kick, where to aim for and how not to fall over while doing either. Then we broke some boards and played attack-your-opponent’s-elbows sparring games. Eventually we attended some group classes where we learned ankle picks, club defenses and how to fall over. My favorite story is being the demonstrate-ie when Sensei Joe was teaching us ankle picks. I thought he was just going to TALK about them so I’m chilling while he’s got one hand on my ankle and is telling Rachel what to do. Then BAM I’m flat on my back. Didn’t hurt too bad and I recovered quickly.

The fun thing about karate is that I’m flexible enough and used to memorizing sequences enough that I can follow along pretty well. It’s really way more enjoyable than you’d think. Of course, I’m still about as fit for combat as a tulip but you can’t have everything all at once.

The bad thing about karate can be expressed in one simple phrase: “I bruise like a peach”.

My coworkers at Village Theatre think it’s pretty funny. At least, they do after I reassure them that I do not have an abusive boyfriend (no boyfriend of any kind!) and the bruises are from “Side Club Defense One” and “Side Club Defense Two”. As Nick so kindly pointed out today “As long as they’re attacking you straight overhead or to your left side WITH A CLUB you are in good shape.”

Pretty much Nick, pretty much.

I’ve officially signed up for six months worth of classes. I own a Gi with appropriate patches and have learned not to wear my hair in anything except a french braid. Now if I can figure out how to tie the belt I’ll be in good shape.

But honestly the most wonderful part of the whole thing is that my Sensei actually looked at me and said “I’m going to train you to teach, just so you know. You’re our next female instructor. It’s going to be hard and a lot of work but that’s what we’re working toward.”


There is something really powerful about that kind of encouragement, especially to my heart. If someone who knows their stuff looks at me and says “You can do this. Moreover, you can do it well enough to teach other people something” my little heart just leaps. So watch out world, someday I’ll be a Sensei and fully capable of being awesome.

In other news, I know I talk a lot about how great the cast of Iron Curtain is but you need to bear with me because it’s a big deal. There have been shows that I really didn’t even like being at work because the casts were too loud/not kind/called me “coffee girl”. I.C. is pretty much the exact opposite. Today I had two separate dance parties in the hall with two separate cast members. Let me tell you, you have not lived until you have go-go danced with Bobbi Kotula or done the Charleston with a man dressed like Nikita Kruschev. Seriously people.

Today was extra awesome because Meghan Matson and her very nice husband ushered. Also our wig master was wearing a Doctor Who shirt which of course led into the “Who’s your Doctor” conversation. So good. Then there was the moment when I got to compare myself to the Pope as various cast members wandered through and I gave them my best Pope wave.

It is really stinking fun to be me sometimes. On the days when life is hard I will think back to my Charleston with one of the biggest communist dictators in history and I will smile. It’s the little things in life.

Have I mentioned that we are going to plan a Rocky and Bullwinkle viewing party for some Saturday between shows? That’s a plan of the Wardrobe Mistress and myself. Good times.




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