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Kyoshi Problems

Yesterday was one of those days. Not a terrible day, mind you, just a terribly mediocre one, full of bad choices and things that did not go the way I wanted them to. I blame my breakfast. I had cereal. Bad choice! I'm normally an eggs and bacon person. You have to start things off correctly or there is no telling what could happen!

Maya and I followed Matthew to his noontime jiu-jitsu class. Whenever we go there we eat lunch at the same Brooklyn diner, a tiny hole in the wall called L&D Luncheonette, that is the most Brooklyn place in all of Brooklyn. (And I use to LIVE in BAY RIDGE so that is saying a lot!) They specialize in greasy things made in the deep fryer (even my sausages were made in there!) and silver dollar pancakes and tuna melts and black & white shakes where they give you the extra mixture in a frosty silver cup. The women who work there are all long nails and big hair and twangy Long Island voices. They call Maya "honey", know everyone who lives on the block and know exactly how to make Vinnie's burger and how Tony likes his coffee. Yeah, its that kind of place. Whenever I eat there I usually order a perfectly respectable chicken wrap but for some reason this time I opted for a plate of greasy eggs with home fries and sausage instead. 

My stomach was not too pleased with me. For hours.

My classes at the dojo were similarly disappointing. I had 16 kids in my second class. Three of them were brand new. They did great. Out of the other 13 kids, exactly 4 of them were actually paying attention. Normally when I have a group like that I immediately scrap anything I had planned on teaching and invent some brilliant game instead, one that somehow combines karate moves with Buddha-like meditation. Suddenly they are completely focused without ever knowing how they got there. (I am a karate teaching wizard! Like Gandalf, only with spin kicks.)

But not yesterday. Yesterday we did some mediocre katas, I yelled a bit, and then we all went home.

Again I blame my breakfast.

Also, there were the shoes. Maya needed new shoes. So on Monday we went to the store and I let her pick out these pink sparkly things that proceeded to rip half of the skin off of her heels. Since my child is nothing if not persistent, she wanted to wear them again in order to "break them in better." After wrapping her foot in no fewer than six Band-Aids, I then allowed her to hobble around all day, in theory "breaking in" these awful shoes. Finally, while we were walking to grandmas house around 6:00 last night, Maya turns to me and says, "We should get some socks." 

She is a genius that one. At no point during the two days of watching my daughter stubbornly limp around did it occur to me to put socks on her feet. Because that is the kind of spectacular mom I am. Also, I had cereal for breakfast.

After a quick trip to CVS for new socks (Genius!) , and dinner at my parents house, I was on my way back to the dojo, ready to disappear into training for an hour. Or at least that was the thought I had while walking up Broadway. I was frustrated and cranky. My stomach still hurt from the deep fried sausages. (Why???) I just wanted to punch and kick things for an hour. Preferably in the back of the room. Anonymously.

When I was a lower belt coming up through the karate ranks, I often went to the dojo to relieve stress. And except for the casual pre-class small talk with other students, and the occasional correction from my teacher, I could usually disappear into the crowd and completely lose myself in the joy of hard training.

This task is a little more difficult now. The dojo floor where I punch and kick is my own, and therefore I cannot help but look up whenever the phone rings or someone comes in the door to ask questions. Everyone in the room is a friend of mine. Which means that even on my worst day, I cannot help but smile when I see them. I cannot avoid conversation. In fact, the minute I enter the womens changing room, I often forget that I wanted to be alone in the first place. Its hard to stay angry in a place where everyone knows your name. Remember Cheers? No one is ever angry in that bar. (Ok, so I've never actually watched Cheers. But I know what the theme song is about. No follow up questions please.)

Also, my husband is the teacher here. He's seen me give birth. (TMI? Sorry.) Although, to his credit, he does a miraculous job of treating me just like everyone else. (Yeah, I totally messed up that bo kata last night. And no, he did not let it slide.) 

And lets face it, it looks a little weird if the highest ranking person in the room, the co-owner of the dojo in fact, is stretching in the corner by herself with a bitchy look on her face. When there are three black belts in class who are still learning their katas, it is not very friendly for the person who they are following to go all super aggro and speedy so there is no way anyone can keep up. 

In other words, having a "me party" in a class of 15 is a tad obnoxious. Besides, that is what we have a heavy bag for.

And the truth is, I only thought that I needed to punch in the back of the room with my angry tournament face on. Once I got on the floor I realized that what I really needed was to mess up an easy combination alongside a woman who I have known since I was 13, laugh at myself, fix my hands and move on. What I really needed was to have Kyoshi Matthew correct the form of my pushups when I got a little lazy. (Never lets me get away with anything, that one!) What I really needed was to be the only one who got the first move of the kata perfect (I am KYOSHI Jennifer!) and then turn around and help the others get there too. And so on. 

I also needed to have ordered a chicken wrap for lunch. 
And to have remembered the socks.
And to have made those kids punch pads instead.

And perhaps a glass of wine.
Mediocre wine, of course.

Because nobody's perfect.


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