Tag: karate

Black Belt

Just over seventeen years ago, I did my first black belt grading and I recently stumbled across an essay that my sensei at the time requested as part of the examination process. Although it in many ways resembles something you’d be asked to write by your English teacher towards the end of secondary school, especially with regard to the title,…

Doing it for life

I swam in horrible conditions the other day. It was not long after dawn on a mucky Monday morning and big, unpredictable swell, with huge surges of cold, dirty water, was moving me around like so much flotsam. I tried to use my usual landmarks to keep my bearings while at the same time avoiding being swept on to them.…

A little, not a lot

The change of seasons is upon us. The gasfire-warmed mornings of a couple of weeks ago have given way to more temperate conditions. Indoors, for my early-morning writing routine, I am no longer wearing a scarf or chunky neck-warmer, nor am I double-socking. (Yes, Melbourne homes really are that cold in winter and I have much anecdotal evidence to support…

In loco parentis

No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend’s were. Each man’s death diminishes me, For…

Compounds, negatives and positives

It was hot in Melbourne yesterday. Thirty seven degrees (99°F). Not off the charts hot but hot enough to make you sweat doing nothing at all. And if you weren’t doing nothing at all? If you were pushing hard in the heat with demands being made of you, emotionally and psychologically? If you were pushing hard for a few hours…

No fixed address

Karate-do means The Way of the Empty Hand. The hand is empty because it is not holding anything. While this can be interpreted symbolically, it is rooted in historical necessity. The originators of karate were forbidden to bear arms so an unarmed style of fighting was developed to be a match for adversaries who did have weapons at their disposal.…

I knew that would happen!

A long time ago, in an Irish town far, far away, there was a tiny little swimming pool. It was a Friday afternoon and in this pool there frolicked the excited and heavily chlorinated attendees of a little primary school. I was among them. Even though the pool was small, we were small, so it seemed large and more than…

You do the math

When writing for this blog I typically start with the kernel of an idea in my mind that I trust will carry enough discursive and imaginative heft to justify the thousand or so words that follow. What I have discovered though is that by the time I press ‘publish’ that kernel may not be in evidence at all. In other…

Songs from the deep

Take a moment and think about all the things you have been told in your life. All the things that have been said to you. All the heart-to-hearts, the tete-a-tetes, all the deep-and-meaningfuls. The advice, the encouragements, the admonishments. How much can you remember? And from whose mouths did the words come? Now take another moment and think of how…

What’s in it for me?

“You’re obviously a man in crisis.” This was a friend’s response to my recent uptake of blogging. Both a fellow Irishman and karateka, he was giving me a lift home after training a few weeks ago. Over the course of our rather circuitous journey (he is a slave to his sat nav) he took it upon himself to cross-examine my motives…