Knees and Students

December 9, 2018 by Rieshy

A few weeks ago tears leaked down my face as I stood on a squishy balance beam and did slow front kicks.  Kicks that were only level with my waist.  Slow.  Wobbly.   I was sweating and worn out after 20 and trying to surreptitiously use my sleeve to dry my face.

I hate it when I leak tears.  Undignified.  Immature.  Silly.  Cue more tears.

That was six week post surgery, 18 weeks post injury, the point where putting on the knee brace in the morning had become as automatic as unplugging my phone from it's charger.  I was in a rehab-rut.  A rehabilitation tire-rut in mud partially frozen over with slushy ice kept shadowed by the back of the garage.

What's hard wasn't the suddenly atrophied muscles and too tight jeans or even the hard work of physical therapy; it was the fatigue of the smallness of the therapy.  Willing those muscles to remember how to tighten.  Just tighten.  Just stinking flexing those quads whose address my brain had lost.  The silliness of the minutia that included being congratulated for doing a wobbly waist-high front kick.

But it hurt. And I couldn't sleep well.  And I found myself whining.  And then I loathed myself for whining so I ate more chocolate and rationalized not doing all my PT homework because it was so meager anyway.  That part of me always eager for defeat threatened to rise in triumph.  Denouncing every small victory as insignificant and unworthy.

Lately, I've thought about my martial arts students and what I want them to learn as they come up on testing time; it reminded me that what I can't do now and even what I may never be able to do again is irrelevant.  The power of studying a discipline such as martial arts is in honing the skill of breaking down large problems into personalized and manageable chunks.   And then sticking with it, growing with it- day after day in the now- enjoying every victory and being thankful for every lesson along the way.  Then applying that same discipline to every important aspect of life.

Rank, testings, competitions: all are fun and even inspiring but they are not necessarily the end game.  It's more personal than that.  I work towards my students doing this.  I can do this.

And I can do it with a bit of professional curiosity and joy.

A Thief in the Night

October 26, 2018 by Rieshy

Grief: a cat,
quiet and heavy.
Settling on your chest
at two a.m. inhaling
your exhalations.
Whispery whiskers,
tickling your lips.


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New Newness

January 14, 2018 by Rieshy
On my kitchen counter I have an espresso machine and a French press.  On my stove I have a percolator, an Italian stove top espresso maker and a Turkish cezve. Because, umm,  because- actually I have no good reason to have 5 ways to make coffee.  I just really really like coffee.

Sometimes you want your cup of joe with a nice creme, and sometimes you want a demitasse filled with coffee thick enough to chew- you get the idea.

When I got the cezve from a daughter this Christmas I researched Turkish and Greek coffee making videos and started boiling away.  I experimented enough with different recipes that I couldn't sleep.  So I took some time off and came back to the cezve from a different angle.  Almond milk.

What if I boiled the coffee directly in almond milk instead of water?

And I discovered perfection and a bit of an oddity.  If you boil Turkish coffee in almond milk not only do you still get that wonderful froth but the coffee somehow ends up tasting like hot cocoa without the treacle-like sweetness of hot cocoa.  Not to mention strength and thickness wise it is like having your coffee and eating it too.

2018- may I discover something new each week, and may at least some of the discoveries be more life changingly profound but all just as delicious as this week's new newness.

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