Sunday, April 13, 2014

Extremes

 While this photo has nothing to do with the below article, I do like it.





Part of my karate history are those instances I underwent extreme weather during training. Somehow I never let that deter me.


One night in Scranton when I was a brown belt the phone rang late, Charles called me go come and train in his Church basement where we trained. I drove the several miles to the Church and I guess the weather was threatening. I remember our sparring, with him crawling over me at will. Then kata practice. However I remember most leaving the training and finding a foot of snow on the car. Which I shoveled off and then drove home, my car was fish tailing all over the streets.


Then there was the tournament in March in Tamaqua, Pa. where I had taken the Blackwell brothers with me. When we left it was icy and slow traveling was called for. The interstate home had no traffic, later I discovered that was because it had been shut down. I guess many had slow drives home.


Charles was in the process of leaving his church to return to the USAF. It was to be the last time I trained with him. Earlier he had begun teaching me Shi Shi No Kon No Dai. This was before movies or books. I realized this was most likely my only chance to learn this kata. I went to his home, he was in the process of packing but he’d stop and come outside to show me some of the kata, as I was in his back yard. Then a line of thunderstorms passed, rain started falling. He went back inside to pack, I stayed in his back yard practicing, soaked amidst lightening strikes with a bo in my hands.


Then the storm clouds would pass, the sun would come out and Charles would see me out there. He’d then come out and show me some more.  Then another thunderstorm would roll in, he would go back to packing and I would remain practicing in the rain and lightening. That storm would pass and eventually Charles would return and teach me some more. That cycle would repeat itself, but eventually I got the kata. That was our last sharing for some time.


The first thanksgiving after I moved to Derry there was a great snowfall. The next day I traveled back to Penna. To train with Tristan Sutrisno. All through New York State the trees were covered with glistening ice. Incredibly beautiful.


Another time I took a group of the guy’s down to train with Tristan. During his clinic where we studied extended versions of the Heian kata, among other training. Leaving during the drive from NE Penna. To New Hampshire we encountered an ice storm in Connecticut and the interstate was closed. We had to get a motel room for several hours, it was about 4am and we had nowhere else to go. Later the interstate opened.


Yet another trip to Pennsylvania, sunny at home, we encountered icy snow in the mountains entering Pennsylvania. I was crawling along on the side of the road, as the hills were to slippery to drive on. A double tractor trailer sailed by fast. Later down the road it was on its side. We spent the night at friends in Scranton but made the clinic training the next day.


Or when my son was 18 months old I took him to a summer camp in the Poconos with me. I remember arriving setting up the tent. He woke up, missing Mommy but was happy to play in the puddle all the same. The next night I was leading a session at midnight. As it was raining I had him sleeping in his covered bassinet with me. I was teaching the group Kusanku kata. It was fun when they lept to the ground and their faces were in the puddles. Who says you can’t have fun in the rain.


Dense fog, rain, snow and ice, cold, hot, I have trained through all of these events. I’ve never stood on a roof during a hurricane. Not quite that foolish. And now being older I am much more careful.  But those experiences, all personal choices, Have taught me much about how to handle myself on diverse surfaces and most adverse situations.

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