123Valerie Strikes Again

Unprecedented Self-Indulgence.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I take my nephew to a free karate class at the Sunbeam School on Thursdays so my sister can go to jazzercise, which is an entertaining thought in itself, but the class is a whole mess of fun -- and I just watch.

It's a motley collection of 6 to 9 year-olds and one very colorful sensei, Mr. Johnson. Sensei Johnson is a great-grandfather so you "can't get no stuff" on him, as he likes to tell the kids. He's, maybe, 70 and has a shiny, black, bald head and very alive grey goatee.

He also has a little toe. I mean, we all have little toes, but his little toe is littler and it's crooked. The toe is positioned sideways so that when you look at the foot head-on, you actually see the side of the little toe and not the tip.

It's fascinating, and, as you might imagine, kids sometimes ask about his little toe. His response is an order for 10 pushups on their knuckles and then he makes them leave the room. They are forever banished.

Sensei runs a tight ship. I've seen him smack a few of the kidders in the back of the head with a clear "pop," which is unsettling but it does have the desired effect. He's fond of telling them that corporal punishment isn't illegal and that he's allowed -- and ready -- to beat their "bunnies." That's what he calls their butts.

"Sit back on your bunnies, chil'ren."

He makes the kids take off their shoes and bow before entering the room, and then they all meditate for a few minutes. You could tell me that you've seen something cuter than a six-year-old in a lotus position, but I wouldn't believe you.

And then the real fun begins.

Now, I live in a suburb of Cleveland, but we're close enough that if you go a few blocks south, you could find any kind of trouble you wanted. I suspect that Sensei found a lot of trouble in his day.

"Chil'ren, we're going to practice getting out of a chokehold. I want all you girls to pay close attention because one day when some big man got you by the throat, you'll know what to do."

Oh, my.

"Now, you may think that if someone comes up behind you and stuffs a gun in your back because they are messed up on drugs, the best thing is to kick them in their privates. You would be wrong. You kick them in the shins! And then you run like hell."

My sister and I have discussed the possible negative ramifications of his "colorful" way of teaching, but so far all Sam seems to have gleaned is that it's fun to kick and punch, so we keep going back. Besides, I caught him meditating the other day, so I think the good is outweighing the bad.

But I have to admit, part of me supports his continued attendance because I'm just so darn curious about that toe.

In the Comments section, tell me about a colorful person in your life.

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  • At 2:39 PM , Blogger WendyB said...

    "I want all you girls to pay close attention because one day when some big man got you by the throat, you'll know what to do." -- actually, I think that's brilliant.

  • At 2:49 PM , Anonymous camikaos said...

    That man kicks ass. Seriously... I'd take K and have her take his class if he were here.


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