June 06, 2007
After a brief flirtation with returning to karate this past winter, a new martial art has risen to the top of our list. Returning to karate was unsatisfactory on several levels, not the least of which was the potential to aggravate my degenerative disk disease, or arthritic back. Also I wanted to find something we could potentially share.
Aikido was also considered but after a visit to the Three Dragons Way studio last evening for a complementary trial class, I think we've found a new shared activity. The studio itself is clean and well presented. There were about fifteen adults and several children in attendance, with the kids working in a separate space downstairs from the adults. Everyone was open and friendly, and the atmosphere was very casual. After the often rigid formality of karate-do, the barely perceptible ritual of starting class was a bit of a shock to me. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and the overall atmosphere was very welcoming. Class ended with a bit more formality than it started. As my favorite part of karate-do was always the kata, practicing a new form for most of the class period was very pleasing to me.
The art itself is measured, calm, non-aggressive. I have likened Tai Chi in the past to slow motion underwater ballet. There is real power and technique hidden in those long liquid movements; hidden meanings to be discovered and learned. The 45-minute practice warmed me up nicely and did not have any deleterious effect on my lower back. We are planning on returning this evening to sign up and try it for a while.