Long, long ago, when I was a fresh-faced 18 year old, I headed off to university. Throughout my years at secondary school I had studied ballet and thoroughly enjoyed the balance of learning and body control that it developed. Arriving at uni, I discovered that there really wasn't an option for ballet and started looking for something else.
For a short while I joined the sailing club but, whilst I enjoy sailing and still go occasionally, the university club was not for me - I didn't really click with the other people and drifted away pretty quickly.Then, in the January of my first term, a few friends from my halls of residence decided to try out karate. The karate club was holding a special one-off beginners lesson (it might even have been a free lesson) and loads of people turned up.
And out of the 50+ beginners that night, I was one of the ones who stayed. Yes, it was pretty different to ballet (for a start, there's the whole hitting-each-other aspect), but there were also a lot if similarities, especially in the learning of different moves and discipline of making your body learn. I even developed more flexibility at karate classes than I did in ballet!
|I even won a medal! (I'm back left)
I made lots of friends at the karate club and ended up being on the club committee for a couple of years. At one point I was training three times a week and heading to the pub for a quick drink and a long chat after each session. (Ah, the days when pubs stopped serving at 11pm and you had to rush to order your drink in time...) We once organised a Gasshuku (training holiday) which involved staying in mobile homes for 3 nights and training on the grass and on the beach. It was a major part of my university experience.
|Gosh, these pictures are bringing back some fantastic memories!
Even after leaving uni, I carried on training at least once a week for the next year or so. However, over time other priorities rose up - mostly starting out in a new career and dealing with the pressures that it came with. My social life changed too and I ended up double-booked on training nights. I didn't think too much about drifting away from karate, but now I'm back! And that deserves a blog post of its own...