Monday, July 17, 2017

Learning the Lingo

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So, I have degrees in English.  Specifically, I studied archetypal patterns in American women's literature.  Virgins and whores.  In my career, this has never been useful.  My secondary area of study was British and American Romantic writers.  This has been useful since I teach courses on those dead dudes regularly (and love it).  I am a devoted reader and have a goal of a book a day, but lately it's been about a book every other day.  I love language.  I love programming languages (Java, C++, Java, Python, and now Ruby).  I love the English language.  But, apparently I can't tell the difference between Japanese and Korean.  In my quest to learn how to count, I tried learning to count in Japanese which sounded nothing like what they were saying in class.  THAT is because they were counting in Korean.  Epic fail on my part.

I truly just love Master Song and think he is the greatest teacher I probably have ever had, and I have had a lot of really great teachers over the years.  I love watching him teach (not just me....which I must say... he is so completely patient with a middle aged chubby chick on a quest for preserving her youth).  He knows each of his students and he spars with each and every one of them every night.  It is entirely captivating.  And apparently he never gets tired.  These young adults are panting and huffing and the guy hardly breaks a sweat. He has the best game face I have ever seen, and I love listening to him yell.  If you have been to a Kendo studio, you know there is a lot of yelling.  I can't tell if they are words or sounds, but it is loud, and, at first, it blew me away because I typically do not like shouting or loud noises.  In fact, when I took Moustache Man, he leaned over and said, "Seriously, Mom, you hate loud noises.  This is going to drive you crazy."  But, it doesn't.  I actually like it because it makes sense to shout when you are gonna whap someone with a bamboo stick.

Did I mention that he is 60?


So I am learning words.  The uniform that is worn is called a hakama.  I received mine tonight but have no idea how to put it on, and, of course, being the ridiculous woman I am, I just want to know what gets worn under it.  Pipers don't wear britches but I always did.  And it's not like I can ask, hey, I know you just met me, but are you wearing shorts or just panties under there?

Kamae is the basic stance.  This is the thing I am learning how to do.  It isn't as easy as you think it is. The bamboo sword (shinai) is a lot trickier to wield than it looks.  The foot work (okuri-ashi) is also pretty tricky.  But, I practice in my living room and scare the cats and make my teenage sons laugh. So, yeah, there is the family entertainment of it all.

My favorite part was at the end of the night.  You kneel in front of each other and say thank you.  I think.  I am not sure if I was supposed to talk or just bow.  No one told me to shut up, but maybe they will get around to it.


Thus far, I am enjoying myself.  It is a lot of work but it doesn't feel like being at the boring gym.

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