Of Snorkeling, Scissor-Sweeps and Sunshine

15 06 2011

For those of you who did not know, I am spending a couple of weeks vacationing in Maui. The timing could not have been better. The past two weeks have been incredibly intense work-wise. Intense to the point that I wasn’t really eating whole meals for days at a time. And to top it off, last Saturday I had my very first karate test.

In fact, let’s lead off with the karate test story.

Part of the Kempo culture is that you NEVER tell a white belt anything about testing. You tell them to drink water and show up and nothing else. So, like the dutiful Padawan, I drank a ton of water, ate a protein bar, cleaned my gi and showed up. Now, let me state once again for the record that I’m in good shape. Not fantastic shape- I’m no Olympian- but I can run for an hour and do a decent number of push-ups etc. Also, I used to dance three and four times a week and have a personal trainer. And in all my experience I have never had a workout as difficult as my yellow belt test. To be fair, part of the difficulty was in the emotional strain of a testing environment. They didn’t shred me completely but the Senseis certainly pounded me into a pulp. 

The test was essential one long Kempo workout with our required materials worked into the mix wherever possible. We did lots of push ups, sit ups, lunges, eight-point blocking systems from horse stance and with half-mooning. There were kicks and punches, DMs and Kempos. Then the hard stuff started.

It all culminates in a good long meditation session and our new belts. I was so excited during the belt ceremony that I was practically bouncing. Since bouncing would have been distracting I instead grinned hugely and blinked away a few tears. (Kempo-ists don’t cry, you know).  The entire day was epic in ways that I’ve never experienced before.

Anyway, that was certainly a highlight from last weekend and explains part of why I’m so very, very thankful to be sitting on a beach-kitsch couch in Maui watching the sun set.

Yesterday the kids and I went out snorkeling. It was my first experience of “real” snorkeling and I was giddy. There were turtles (they’re huge!) and I chased parrot fish hither and thither for a good long while. At one point Mari was gesturing to show us something, I swam over and saw what my brain thought was a sea-snake. Speed records were broken as I beached myself like a whale in sheer panic. About the time I got the snorkel out of my face and enough breath to freak out aloud I’d realized that it was an eel and I was an idiot. Oh well, if it HAD been a snake I’d have been safe and everyone else in the cove would be dead. Just sayin…

We’ve been good about practicing karate wherever and whenever possible. Yesterday we had a full-on workout complete with “extreme standing” and rolling back-fist drills. Today I practiced my sword kata belly-deep in the ocean while wearing a brightly flowered bikini. Luckily there weren’t many people on the beach or I would have been the side-show freak that I FELT like. At one point, while swimming, James and I looked at one another and went “we should practice grappling! I bet shrimping out would be easy underwater!” At which point we realized that to practice grappling in the ocean would be tantamount to drowning your partner. The idea was quickly abandoned. Instead we frolicked.

You read right. Frolicked.

I completely understand why people honeymoon in Hawaii- it’s the kind of place where everything is so beautiful and sunny and flower-covered that love is the only response that even approaches being adequate. Since I’ve no particular ‘one’ to lavish the out-pouring of love on, I am just thankful and grateful for the chance to be here.

Today wasn’t super sunny but it is a beautiful land and we are a happy group just so long as there are computers, books and drawing materials. Also, let it be noted by those of you who know Barry, he watched a dance movie with us last night. And enjoyed it!

Excuse me, there is a steak and a coconut rum concoction calling my name….




2 responses

15 06 2011

This is some adventure—continuous and exciting. I enjoyed reading it.

16 06 2011

Congrats on the Hawaii vacation. It’s a lovely, lovely place. Definitely one of those places I intend to return to one day (if nothing else, one of the items on my “Things To Do Before I Die” list requires being there).

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