I walk out of the office, exhausted and committed to getting home, pouring drink and binge-watching Sons of Anarchy while my son plays at my feet and I write some posts based on whatever thoughts drift through my head. I get home and my children are blessedly quiet and occupied as I greet my wife. She has supper started and I discover my oldest has a batch of homework that needs doing, especially since he was home sick on Friday. No worries, I think… I can hammer this out with him before I eat then have the evening to relax. “The hell, you will…” says my wife. “You’re going back to karate tonight.” Guess my plans have changed…
I pack my gym bag after having it empty for over eight weeks. I had washed my gi a few weeks prior. I feel a near-paralyzing sense of anxiety at the thought of putting myself in a room with punches and kicks coming at me. I reached above my head and stretched the left side of my rib cage, aware of the tightness and aching that remains. My wife comes and checks on me, aware that I’m trying to cram as many of my chores in as I can before leaving. I manage to get my son’s homework done well in advance. I no longer have ANY excuse… It’s time to go back.
I leave my house thirty minutes before our 8 pm class is slated to start. The stairs to the third floor feel higher than usual and I wonder at the reception my absence will have elicited. I walk in to see one of the youth classes nearing its end. Sensei Mike is leading it, and we make eye contact for a brief moment before he continues on. I walk into the locker room and change into my gi, my arms feeling leaden as I dwell on the first class I’ll attend since early April. I walk out onto the main dojo floor in time to see the youth class finish up and bow out.
Sensei Mike greets me warmly and asks where I’ve been for the past while. That first minute tells me that he doesn’t know about the injury I sustained during our workshop. I explain my absence and the injury and I see Mike’s face change behind the masks we’re still required to wear. On the one side, I’m glad he didn’t know about the injury as he likely would have dwelled on it during my absence. We discussed the various lessons that he and I should be associating to what happened and how we could share it with the student body.
Monday night was my first class back. I practiced, I trained and I broke a sweat. It was a good burn and a good feeling. Tonight will be my second class back. And that’s the way of it; like walking a long journey requires one step at a time, my return to peak condition will be the same. One class at a time. Yesterday was my cardio day. My legs are killing me, today. Small price to pay. Combining karate training with cardio will lead to weight loss, increased speed and reflexes and hopefully regaining a little something of what I’ve lost in recent years. Let’s go take that next step… ☯️