Karate lament


Driving in to work today my mind got to wandering back to when I was studying karate. I miss that. I was studying Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Genbu-Kai under Todd Cooper in Ponca City. I was a member of that dojo when Fumio Demura “left” his previous group and formed Genbu-Kai and was among one of the first groups to receive a Genbu-Kai certificate after moving up a level. I was in for about a year and was up to seventh … the word is “cue” but not spelled that way; I think it starts with a k. I don’t remember. Yellow belt with a black stripe.

I haven’t found anything that relieves stress the way an hour or so in a dojo will. Cooper-san would put us through brutal workouts sometimes. And we got to break things, punch and kick pads and spar with one another. I’d leave bruised sometimes, but it was fun.

During my time in the dojo, I went to one tournament in Pittsburgh, Kansas. I won three medals, and that was nice. They’re still hanging with my writing awards. Seems I got second place in kata, and third places in individual and team sparring.

The karate lessons were free. I worked for Conoco at the time, prior to the satanic possession by Phillips. Cooper-san, and everyone in the dojo, worked for Conoco or was family of an employee. Conoco being a good company saw the benefit of encouraging healthy living, so the lessons were free for employees who paid an annual $15 fee to join an employee organization; for the fee, you got to use all the gym equipment, swim in the pool, attend the Halloween, Christmas and Easter parties for families, etc.

I dropped out when the wife was late in her pregnancy with our last baby. She was having some minor trouble with blood sugar and taking care of the youngest post-birth kid, who wasn’t quite two yet. So I took a break from my karate evenings; I was going three times a week, most weeks. Truth be known, though, the training was getting more serious than I cared for. I didn’t want to go for the long weekend tournaments where we had to eat Japanese food (I’m a very picky eater, for those who don’t know) and basically get immersed in Japanese karate culture. I wanted to hit things during the week and spend my weekends at home with the family. And, I was having trouble with the kicks, particularly the side-thrust kicks (I hadn’t gotten to roundhouse yet). My knees were bothering me; a good friend who got me started in karate kept saying my knees were just weak and would stop hurting with practice, but I suspect it was deeper than weak muscles. Muscles don’t pop; bone does.

Anyway, my temporary break became permanent, then Phillips Petroleum took possession of Conoco and my job ended. I’d like to take it up again, but don’t know that I want to pay for it and eventually face the pressure of competing and immersing and all that. There’s no Genbu-kai dojos in the Oklahoma City area, so I would have to learn a new style, too.

Of course, all thoughts of this will fade once I post this and begin to actually, you know … do my job while I’m here in the office. Speaking of which, I need to get after it.


0 responses to “Karate lament”

  1. I never took up Karate or anything similar, but I did play hockey for five years (I was the goalie, and yes, no one really believed my name was ‘Jason’). We were playing sometimes three and four nights a week, playing in tournaments in Dallas and Wichita every other weekend. Most times my gear wouldn’t even be dry of my sweat by the time I had to put it back on. I quit after playing in the Sooner State Games and playing five games in one day. Quick burn out.
    I miss it sometimes, as I’m sure you do your competitions, but then I think of that sweat wet gear and I’m glad I don’t play anymore.
    And I’m a picky eater, too. People give me hell about it but I calmly point out that I haven’t been sick a day in my life.
    Jason.

  2. I never took up Karate or anything similar, but I did play hockey for five years (I was the goalie, and yes, no one really believed my name was ‘Jason’). We were playing sometimes three and four nights a week, playing in tournaments in Dallas and Wichita every other weekend. Most times my gear wouldn’t even be dry of my sweat by the time I had to put it back on. I quit after playing in the Sooner State Games and playing five games in one day. Quick burn out.
    I miss it sometimes, as I’m sure you do your competitions, but then I think of that sweat wet gear and I’m glad I don’t play anymore.
    And I’m a picky eater, too. People give me hell about it but I calmly point out that I haven’t been sick a day in my life.
    Jason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.