Recently I noticed that my 2007 collection of doing "things I have always wanted to do/try" was rather on the low side. So when I browsed through my local community center's course catalog, the word "karate" seemed to leap out at me. You see, just like learning French and learning to play the keyboard, learning karate has long been on my list of "things I want to try my hand at at least once".
With nervous excitement, I ran my finger down the timings list to see if any of the karate classes were being held at a convenient time. My excitement turned to disappointment when I realized that the only Karate classes were in the mornings. Sigh!
Then my glance fell on the word Jujutsu. Hmm, why not learn jujutsu instead? Another scan showed that jujutsu classes were held on Wednesday evenings. Ah, perfect! So I quickly signed up for the jujutsu class. A friend also told me that jujutsu was more elegant than karate. Yup, grace personified me (yeah, right) was going to go for jujutsu classes alright!
Last week was the first class. I landed outside the class and was pleased to see a crowd of adults waiting outside - ah, jujutsu is popular! Inside, the children's jujutsu session was just getting over. As soon as the kids came out, they ran towards various adults (who were parents I realized then) and soon the entire crowd dispersed, leaving just me and another guy.
I stepped into the class to see an instructor and a teaching assistant (TA) dressed in Gi (the white uniform). The instructor looked at the course attendance list and said "You must be Ar-chaaana." I was just concluding that the list probably had only one Indian sounding name which was why they identified me so accurately when the instructor grinned and said, "You are the only student registered for this session."
What!?! The instructor then proceeded to tell me that while they would teach me something that day, in case no more students registered for the session, it was quite possible that the class would be cancelled. So much for my jujutsu learning dreams :-(!
And then the other guy who had been waiting outside with me stepped in. He wanted to give a trial shot at the class. Phew - at least I had company for that class! We initially had a bunch of warm up exercises which I managed to go through fairly okay.
Then we went onto actual jujutsu. It is a form of self defense and focusses mainly on what to do if someone attacks you. In the first few minutes of the class, two things became extremely clear. The other student, H, was simply raring to try out the defense moves with as much punch as he could muster. On the other hand, I was trying to do everything as gently as possible to ensure that I did not accidentally hurt anyone. The instructor was trying to point out that I needed to put in more energy into my moves so that they would actually have some effect on the opponent bad guy.
At some point, we learnt a move to push the opponent to the ground. The TA for the class was this 6'4" guy and he was my "opponent". In the process of pushing him, I involuntarily lost my balance and landed on my knees beside him. At which point, the instructor looked at me with amusement and said, "Listen, you have not pushed him to the ground so that you can sit beside him, chat with him and enquire about his family. He is the bad guy!!!" Grinning sheepishly, I hastily pulled myself up into a more alert pose.
The class was pretty interesting and soon we came to its end. All the moves I had learnt so far were swiftly flowing out of my head even as I picked up my bag to leave but I was keen to continue. The instructor said that if at least one other person signed up, the classes would continue. I looked at H and implored, "Please sign up too!"
Today was session 2. H has signed up too - yaay! So at least I don't have to drop my jujutsu-learning dreams. As expected, I had forgotten most of what I had learnt the previous week but it mercifully came back when we recapped.
The instructor said that I was doing things a bit more forcefully and it was a good sign. But this new image was slightly shattered when he asked to do a roundhouse punch to show me some move and I blinked at him. He asked,"You have never punched anyone, have you?" And I meekly said,"Er, no!" But ya, now I know what a roundhouse punch is too :-D!
We learnt a variety of ways in which to hurt someone. I was most impressed on learning just how much pain a simple knuckle punch on the hands can bestow. I also learnt 10 different ways to disorient (read, hurt enough to disorient) an opponent. And yup, am also learning how to be more vigorous with my moves.
All ye folks, you can now start thinking twice before saying mean things to me ;-P!