They Say It Comes in Threes
I have just worked out for 45 minutes at home on karate basic moves, then driven to class for an unexpected 75 minute hard core workout. At the end of class, Dori came to the side door and handed Hanshi some paper. “Here,” Hanshi said, folding the paper in half and handing it to me. “Be here a next Saturday, you won’t want to miss it.” Then we bowed out.
I didn’t have to look at the paper to know what it said. Green Belt Test. Next Saturday. $25 fee for belt, diploma, etc. What do I need to know? Everything he just worked me on in class while he had the others step aside and work Anaku. In other words: 15 animal forms, a basic knowledge of the Shuri-Ryu system, the symbols and meaning of the White Pine Tree patch, Ippon Kumite Katas 1-5, Kihon Kumite Katas 1-5, and Shino, Wunsu, Anaku, Emp-Sho, Nai Hanchi Sho, and Basa Dai Katas. Oh, and save a little energy at the end for sparring, push ups, sits ups, and thai style kicks.
I lace up my shoes and bow out of the dojo, practically running to the car. It’s a clear, cold night, pitch black sky without a moon or star in sight. Ten minutes later, I’m driving up Highway 261 when the Volvo dies. Picture me, in my white karate gi pants, bright red Puma sneakers, and an obnoxiously bright green hoodie that says OREGON across the front. I look something like a cross between a Christmas elf and a member of the Klan.
I put the hazards, unbuckle, and head for the back of the car. Flashlight? Check. Jumper cables? Check. Flares? Negatory. A few minutes pass before a truck comes wheeling around the corner, then slows to a stop with the grill of a hefty Ford 350 extended cab just a few feet from my face. I squint into the headlights and wait, keeping my back heel up in fighting stance just in case.
I am exhausted. I have just fended off 19 attackers in 55 moves, sweated more ounces of water than I drank all day, and killed approximately 82 imaginary ninjas that crossed my path in the past hour. I have kiai-ed and slide-stepped, trapped, locked, and grappled. I have reverse punched and backfisted. And yet I cannot jumpstart my car without help from another person. Hello world. I am at your disposal.
The door of the truck opens slowly and I see a man’s broad shoulders. Six foot two, approximately 270 pounds, is my guess. A dragon body, as Hanshi would say; all boxy and muscle. Like a pit bull.
He slams the door shut and steps my direction. “Well Katey Schultz!” cries the voice. “What in the heck are you doing?”
“It’s David Phillips! Looks like you got yourself in a pickle.” He steps in front of the headlights and I see his smile. This is the man who grade my horrible driveway every winter, making it level and safe for at least a few months.
“Yes, Sir. I was just coming back from the dojo and my battery died.”
“The dojo! That’s right.” He makes a fist and pops a few in the air, finishes with an uppercut silhouetted in the headlights. “Well let’s see if we can get you started here.”
And we did. David helped me jump my car three times in four miles, and saw me all the way to the bottom of the hill where I hopped in Lady Blue and made the rest of my triumphant trip home. Later, Dad came and we dealt with the battery, got it to Terry’s (supporter of Lost Crossings!), and put her in line for a new alternator.
And so it is. Snow’s coming to Fork Mountain this weekend and I’m getting the hell outta dodge. Seeking lower ground at Red Beard’s house (2,000 feet) and chilling out a bit. It’s been one heck of a week.