Monday, March 31, 2008

Earned My Stripe

"1st Rokkyu"

That's short for "blue with green stripe." I think of it as "blue-and-a-half." It's my latest rank achievement in karate following a grueling two-hour test on Saturday.

It was awesome, though. Sensei joked about it being like childbirth, where the exhiliration of the outcome makes you forget the pain. (We discussed it theoretically, of course, as neither he nor I have given birth.) It was a painful test at times, especially when I got a couple of accidental palm heel strikes to my head by a fellow student (who had to pay with 25 pushups and a stern warning from the instructor that "sorry" doesn't take the hurt away). But I continued to marvel that -- wow -- I am doing this cool stuff! I am doing pushups with a group of people on a cement parking lot behind the studio (and thank goodness it's not raining)! Wow -- now I am standing tall in a sweaty dojo in front position with hands clasped and elbows up and arms shaking, trying not to pass out because I forgot to eat breakfast--and lunch--before coming! Wow -- now I am doing Kata #2 forms over and over again for different instructors! Wow -- I am remembering kenpos and defensive maneuvers and keeping my balance! Wow -- I wonder if that palm heel strike is going to show up on my next MRI! Wow -- I am sweating like a pig...and only people who are ALIVE can do that!!!

Besides -- and I've said it before -- karate is like the ultimate neuro test. I needed to demonstrate memory, reflexes, neuromuscular strength, and balance. I've been off chemotherapy for almost a month now. I'm still riding on some prayers, although many people think I'm cured which makes me worry about "prayer tapering". So it's nice to have this test to reassure me that-- so far at least (knock wood)-- things must still be going okay!

I celebrated with a badly needed session with Carlos the Magnificent, for a new cut and highlights.

During the test my husband earned his orange belt, having just started a couple of months ago. (His test only took one hour.) He shed his yellow belt, so I don't get to tease him about being a yellow-belly anymore. My son had his own test a little while ago -- he's my Little Boy Blue -- just barely in my wake. My daughter has her own gi and took a few lessons herself. We decided that the family that kicks together...sticks together!

By the way, the picture posted here is misleading -- it was taken a couple of weeks before the test, so we're wearing outdated belts (and I'm sporting roots). But this is our annual "homecoming day" family picture and it was worth sharing here since it's karate-themed.

It's on to green for me now. As Kermit said, "it's not easy..." but as with life, the joy is in the journey!

*Em's rank
**Prince Jared's rank
***Jake's rank
****Half-brain's rank

1 comment:

Krista said...

Krista, I am a lurker on the blog and visit periodically. I just wanted to thank you for all the updates and especially the pictures (you really come 'alive' then). Congrats on the MRI results. I will keep my prayers going for you.