Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Visit From Eli

We rarely get visitors to class due to the time.  We start at 4:15 and a majority of folks probably do these classes around 7 pm in the real world.  So we are a combination of after school and pre-dinner.  If we wanted to expand the student body we'd have to have a better time slot at the health club.

So when someone shows up in a gi that we don't know, it's a moment of excitement to be sure.  I'd forgotten that Reed needed to pick up a final kata before May.  He's going for his next rank (fifth?) and wanted to pick an old friend's brain.  Eli Sensei is from a Shotokan school and had the day to work with Reed and the gang on that one Kata.  

Eli no longer has a school to go to, but has been practicing non-stop since he's been 5 years old.  His background is based in the older, more physically demanding schools of the past.  His hands are an uneven testament to breaking; sporting broken knuckles and uneven surfaces.  With that kind of life I assumed he'd be like the hardened, condescending folks I've met off and on, but this guy is the exact opposite.  He has an incredible sense of humor about the art, himself and everything around him.  When he's doing the kata he's very earnest, but that's where it ends.  I don't think I've even met such a silly man.  Every story is filled with matching faces and usually self-effacing references which in something horrible has happened to him.  

I spent a majority of the class working with the three new kids.  We worked on the first elbow technique ad nauseam, but they didn't complain.  The only thing I had to work on was their family dynamics.  The standard, "you're kicking too hard", "no the other way", and so on.  However, I believe they'll have it down pretty good by the next time they have to do it.

After class Mark and I worked on the "test".  Each time we work together it gets better and better. I stumble here and there and so does he, but it's getting smaller and smaller in the overall scheme of the work.  That's a distinct pleasure.

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