Like I Said
Ok, so maybe I’m mildly freaked out. Maybe I had un-saintly visions all afternoon of my tibia and fibula bursting through my own skin and jutting up into the air as the femur in my upper leg burst through the skin and thrust down to the ground. And somewhere between, I day-mared (like a nightmare except you’re awake) would be a mess of blood I used to call my knee. Then I day-mared this on my other knee and all that was left was me in my gi, lolling around on the tatami, never to set foot in a dojo again.
And ok, so maybe it’s this whole notion of a blue belt that’s adding fuel to the fire. There’s one blue belt in our class and he’s excellent. He’s also a teenage boy and therefore physically immortal but still, he basically kicks ass. I can hear his gi snap when he moves. He rarely seems to sweat (does he?). He is, effectively, beyond human—of this I am certain—I really shouldn’t compare myself to him.
Another ridiculous day-mare and not one that is going to get me anywhere in this belt test of mine (T minus 45 hours and counting). Clearly, this test will be as physically challenging for me as it is mental. I believe I said, “What the FUCK?” approximately 3.5 times under my breath in class tonight, unbeknownst to Hanshi, thank god, yet apparently loud enough for the black belt next to me to notice and say under her breath, “You’re doing fine, Katey.” Oops.
What’s killing me is Wunsu kata, which is full of horse stances that berate my knees. I do not “own” this kata, as Hanshi says. I’ve just barely learned it and there is nothing more anxiety producing than giving a perfectionist (a.k.a. a Capricorn) something to perfect and then testing her on it before she has perfected it. Add excesses of the lovely hormone we call estrogen (a.k.a. crack cocaine) to the mix and basically you’ve got this semi-trained karateka on homebrewed drugs (PMS) in need of pain killers (but refusing) who is supposed to enter the dojo and act as though a) everything is fine and b) she knows exactly what she is doing and c) she can save the world and all its inhabitants.
Like I said: So maybe I’m mildly freaked out. I felt prepared to earn a yellow belt everyday. Earning a blue belt? All I can do is trust Hanshi, who believes I ought to wear blue, and thereby I ought to trust myself. If my knees were 100% my mental state would be different. On Thursday, I’ll have to move the best I can while also adjusting for and protecting my knees…and I’ll have to hope that Hanshi knows I know the difference between the proper technique and the modified version. I don’t want any forgiveness. I don’t want any brownie points. I just want two strong knees, zanshin, and 60 minutes I can be proud of.