Boot Camp, Round Three

Round Three of my self-imposed Boot Camp is slightly less ambitious than Round One and Round Two, but I hosted 2 friends for 3 days and also managed to contract a snot-infused, hellbender-headache-version of a virus (sullying two hankies in a 24-hour period.) Still, I hit the gym 3 times last week and worked out once at home. I didn’t get any long bike rides in or additional gym time (thank you, whatever camper turned in a story last week with snot germs on it).
Today, I rested between classes but dragged myself to the gym later for an endurance ride on the stationary bike and studied my white belt flashcards while pedaling away. I can still hear my teacher Hashi’s voice when I quiz myself about our basic principals: Inhale on preparation/Exhale on execution, Harmony of breath and movement, The first movement in karate is always down, Natural body alignment, Three times the reverse action = three times the power. I can still feel the whoosh of our karate gi’s as the we moved from honbon kibadachi (forty-five degree horse stance) into reverse punch and back again, Hanshi counting all the while: Ich, Ni, San! Ich, Ni, San!

To test my physical strength, I completed 1/2 the White Pine Tree test (the physical challenge portion–not the written exam) this week. Karateka are given 60 minutes to complete a mind-boggling array of martial arts physical challenges along with a 3-mile run. The first time I started training for it is discussed here. This week, my time for 1/2 the numbers (that is, 250 kicks instead of 500 and 1 1/2 miles instead of 3, etc. for everything else on the list) was 26 minutes. That time is only good enough if I can maintain pace. Next week, I’ll have to try again–perhaps the whole test instead of just halfsies.

I’ve worked Shino, Wunsu, Anaku, and Empi-Sho katas and will continue this focus throughout the rest of the week. I’m a third of the way through rereading my white belt journal and this post from 1/31 nicely captures both the awe I felt for my teacher and the amount of work he asked us to tend to. I rose to the challenge as a white belt. Can I rise to the challenge now, on my own, with only a stack of papers and flashcards to help jog my memory? So far, so good, though I know I’ve only just begun this re-immersion.

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