Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Providence and Cape Cod

Did anybody miss me?

We flew to Providence, Rhode Island last Thursday for good friends, good food and three days of brawling on Cape Cod. So much to write and think about and let settle. Images.

Finally meeting Norm Abramson. I've admired his posts for two years now, his incredible knack for asking the right question and draw out a deeper meeting... meeting him and realizing that the only thing I knew about him was this gift of asking questions. Shy as he was, it wasn't enough to get a conversation started.

Talking under a burning sun with an old war horse, critiquing the frauds we had met in the martial arts and philosophizing about how to inject the truth about violence to people who only think they want it.

"I'll be back in two years," the young man said. "I'll have some stories of my own, then. I'm going to Iraq." Good luck and be safe, soldier.

Sitting and drinking scotch, talking to a man who brought a system of karate to America and one of his earliest students- nearly eighty years of experience between the two of them. Long after the rest of the attendees had gone to bed, the die-hards stayed up, talking about physiology and technique and history and management. Psychology and fatherhood and old injuries. Just talking, the most precious memory of this weekend.

The Bahamanian contingent with their quick laughs, beautiful ladies and serious karate.

Brigette who will be a fine boxer, watching her fighter's heart as she took on again and again two nationally ranked MMA fighters in their ground fighting arena.

Rolling with those two fighters, exultant and feeling my age both, sore and happy. The completely destroyed shirt....

Raffi, a great natural teacher with stick or knife or empty hands.

Taking students who don't know me and introducing them to infighting then blindfolding one of each pair. Their delight when they understood they could feel what was about to happen, what was open and what to cover.... the laugh of a yondan who suddenly sees the power of a small wave action in his knee or hand.

Breaking my own rigidity of belief in what a karate kata is and should be, learning how much variation is allowed and encouraged in this system.

Preparing to show an assassination technique, I point at an attractive young lady student, "Who would like to kiss this girl?" They freeze, these karateka... not at all sure what they just heard or what they are supposed to do.

Related- "Biting is perfectly acceptable in this drill," I told them and they all choked.

I think we should work on contact next year. Not just the hard contact like boxing but touching. It's integral to jujutsu, integral to all real fighting but the karateka balked at it twice with me, once when my wife instructed them to put their hands on their partner's hip to feel the motion.

My Wife! Kami the slave driver warming up an entire camp of karatekas with slow, tortuous belly dancing exercises. For a few minutes, most actually had it and I had the privelege of seeing a hundred rough, tough karate fighters swinging their hips in a decent cabaret shimmy.

It was a good place, a good time, made so by good people.


Wael said...

What was the "kiss the girl" comment about? Was that a distraction while you made your move?

Rory said...

There's an assassination technique for a woman to kill a man from the kissing position. I found it odd how these guys, some of whom were pretty rough and tough, okay with punching and kicking at hard contact, all seemed to glitch at the thought of any contact even slightly more personal.