The gym is a little grimy. It’s a well known gym, so one might expect less dirt, but this location is in the lowest tier of the empire. It has been forgotten. But as I mentioned before, at $14 per month, the grime to price ratio still warranted joining. And I have grown fond of this gym. It has the basics: free weights and some machines. That’s all I need for Year of Bruce. And it also has one surprising treasure, the aerobics room.
It’s 1500 square feet of neglected possibility. I suspect the other gyms are attracting people who are willing to drop at least $75 per month for trendy classes, such as the dreaded Zumba (with a name reminiscent of Godzilla’s rivals, it was destined for evil). My gym is unburdened by such things. It seems that less trendy classes also means less classes in general. This is good for me. The space can be recommissioned. Recommissioned into a perfect makeshift dojo. Lots of space, hardwood, and mirrors. An empty canvas.
May 3, 2013
After finishing the 1965 Hak Keung Gymnasium workout, I headed for this new dojo. After some pushups and sit-ups, I started working on my evasion combination for sparring. I’m still a ways from 10,000 reps, but I can certainly knock out another 100 today. With my right leg forward, I fade my left foot behind me while leading with my right punch. The left leg comes up a half step followed by left reverse punch to the body. “Don’t telegraph with the front foot, don’t telegraph with the front foot.” I keep repeating this mantra. Such a bad habit and according to my teacher, my undoing this season. At about 60 reps, the pad of my left foot starts to tingle, then little sharp pains hit as I push off. A blister is forming. I’ve been training in shoes outdoors too much. This revelation dawns on me as I start to worry about finishing my goal. I push through to 100. I had planned on practicing kata, but that may have to wait a day.
As I finish the 100th rep, a Capoeira practitioner enters. He knows of this secret dojo. I’m happy to see another dedicated martial artist, but I also feel a little territorial. Doesn’t he know this is a secret karate dojo. Oblivious to this fact, he starts doing handstands, throwing his legs in the air. Although he is on the other side of my secret dojo, I know a dance off has been called. It’s clearly the time to demonstrate my style’s kicks. Facing the mirror, I watch both of us as I lead punch with my right, step up with my left, drive the left punch to my mirror doppleganger’s midsection, and then a right leg round house kick to my mirror self’s head. Crisp and hard, very Japanese. It makes for a nice contrast to his loose Brazilian style. Then, at about 10 reps, the pain from the blister starts to shout warnings at me, “The skin will tear soon.” Time to stop. This dance off will be continued.