Week 3: A Quarter of the Way There!

Since Week 4 of training begins in T-minus forty-five minutes, I figured I should update on last week’s adventures.  Even though it was a vacation week from school/work, time really escaped me.  One “highlight” of the week was a four-hour trip to IKEA – and then, of course, the following day when you just build and arrange everything from IKEA.  This was some quality family time!

As the pattern predicted, Week 3 of training focused on advanced material, including forms, defense, kicks, strikes, and blocks.  We also continued with our 100 push-ups and sit-ups each night, which happens after we complete the “workout” portion of the regular karate class.  The advanced defense includes movements against a stick (or bat), knife and a handgun.  These are more fresh to us since we have been learning the advanced defense for the past two and a half years.  Some of the advanced forms were a bit rusty, and ironically the one I have had the least amount of time practicing (Hwa Rang) is the one I know the best, since we just tested on it for our candidate belts.  The first night of training was just re-familiarizing ourselves with the content, and then we were able to really work on the details later in the week.

On Thursday night, I practiced my aerial break with success (a jump switch front kick), but I am still working on my speed break (spinning hook) and was able to gain some pointers on my form and positioning for that particular break.  I was able to achieve a spinning hook speed break during a breaking class last Spring, but it has been giving me a bit of trouble since.  I would really like to perform the spinning hook speed break or a roundhouse speed break for my black belt test, so it is something that I will be working on in the next couple of weeks.

The last time I saw Blue Man Group was in 1996.  I am officially old.
At the end of the week, I took Steve up to Boston for his real birthday gift.  We went to Blue Man Group at the Charles Playhouse and out for dinner.  Although Steven was not chosen to go on stage, as I hoped, my name was flashed across the screens in the beginning of the show when they are entertaining the audience before the performance begins. Therefore, I had a bunch of strangers screaming a meditation at me (about a cow in a field, nonetheless) in an effort to stop my “headache,” whereby they were chanting at me and using my full name.  The names they use in the beginning are chosen completely at random, so it was a surprise to us and hilarious.

After the show we went for dinner at a restaurant called Post 390 (http://post390restaurant.com) in Boston; they refer to the restaurant as an “urban tavern.”  I did not quite get that tavern vibe considering I had a very confusing and over-thought lobster-squash bisque topped with crème fraîche, pistachios, and a very heavy-handed pour of balsamic glaze.  What made the dining experience more interesting than the complex cuisine, however, was that we were seated next to a couple that was not only on a first date, but a blind first date at that.  Our entire dinner conversation was dominated by the man on this date, whom my husband affectionately referred to as “Foghorn Leghorn.”  Mr. Leghorn was essentially screaming at this poor young woman (who just kept ordering glass after glass of red wine) about his super fascinating engineering job and his high school glory days (apparently he scored over 1400 on his SATs).  Needless to say, we were happy to high-tail it out of there and find a cozy Italian-American restaurant to have some dessert and an aperitif.  By this time, it was only eleven o’clock, and we still had a lot of energy.  We took a midnight walk around Boston Common when it started snowing and I felt compelled to get some roundhouse kicks in.  Why not?

A snowy Boston Common at midnight.

Just in case anyone wanted to mess with us, I decided to whip some roundhouse kicks in Boston Common.  This is perfectly normal.
The rest of the weekend was spent between basketball games for my oldest son, errands, and general end-of-vacation week clean-up to prep for the major dose of reality that buzzes in with the Monday morning alarm clock.  We were able to close off a restful and eventful week with our friends for what we call “Sunday Family Dinner” at one of our favorite restaurants – Aidan’s Pub (http://aidanspub.com) in Bristol, Rhode Island where the the food tastes like home cooking and the drinks are plentiful. Very often, and particularly on Sunday nights, there is live Irish music. Now, here at Aidan’s, I was granted the “tavern” feel that I appreciate most!  Not to mention, the more satisfying feeling of being with friends who know you well and who feel like home.

Cheers to everyone for a great week — I am off to begin Week 4.


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