In my May 19th post "Return to the Ring," I qouted this line from Pie Mei in Kill Bill 2, "You are here to learn the mysteries of Kung Fu, not linguistics. If you can't understand me, I will communicate with you like I would a dog. When I yell, when I point, when I beat you with my stick!" In that post I wrote that Tanaka Sensei, my Karate teacher, only corrects me with his hands & feet. Well, things have changed; he got a stick; a real nasty one too.
This past Tuesday at practice I noticed something very menacing in his once empty hand, hell, how could I not?: it was a shinai 竹刀, a bamboo sword used in Kendo 剣道, the Japanese martial art of sword fighting. As if he wasn't scary enough, now he's armed and more dangerous.
Tanaka Sensei used the shinai like a decorative cane as he walked in between us, pounding it on the floor as he shouted out commands. It was like he had his finger on the trigger. We all put 110% into our kicks and punches because if we slacked off: if our fists were loose, if our stances sagged, our if our damn toes weren't pulled back: SMACK!! A pop to the back of the knee, "Lock it," the stick commands. A wrap on the knuckles, "Tighter!" Too bad after the smack our legs hurt too much to straighten and our knuckles were too numb to tighten. Forget Catholic Sisters with rulers; try a Karate Master with goddamn wooden sword. Holy Shit man!