Saturday, September 8, 2012
In the Name of Realism
"Did you open your gift?" she'd asked, referring to the little box she'd sent me back to my new "home" town with after I visited my old one for Christmas. Stuffed in a bag I hadn't even unpacked yet, she made me open it while we were chatting. My "thank you" must have sounded a bit uninspired, I imagine (I thought they were rhinestones).
"They're real, you know," she told me. I couldn't believe that my mom, a homemaker (or "domestic engineer" as she called it) from a tiny town in the middle of North Nowhere had actually spend so much on such an extravagant gift for me - which is exactly what I said.
"Why?" she asked, completely baffled. "Don't you think you're worth it?" I know there was a very pregnant pause as I thought of how to answer. On that day, I didn't think I was - and it made me cry like a baby.
Since that day all those years ago, I've worn the studs almost every day - whether rocking my work attire, lycra bike tights and a tee-shirt or dressing it up for special occasions (which is easier than you think as I have two holes in each ear. And don't worry - I do clean my studs regularly!) - because, channeling a product slogan I still hear from time to time, I am worth it, but that's another story :-).
My mom passed away 20 years ago, so those studs are, of course, very special to me because they were one of the last things she gave me. I've worn them to every post-colligate track meet I ever competed in, every road race I've ever run and to every trip to the gym I've made in the last two decades. I noticed yesterday - as I was looking for a particular photograph from my son's baby book to send him (after I scanned it) for his birthday - that I even wore them the day he was born! And yes, I wear them to karate class. Never had an issue with them in my sparring gear or anything like that, either. The few times I have taken them off for class (when grappling or working choke escapes for instance), I've been really, REALLY worried that they were going to get lost or left behind somehow, which made it kinda hard to concentrate on practical technique applications.
Some folks train where there are strict dojo "no jewelry" rules. Most of my training partners are smart enough to remove their watches, big rings, necklaces and dangly earrings when we step onto the mat, but wedding rings and small studs have always been allowed where I've trained. Always.
Lately, training partner Ed had been on a tear about the wearing of jewelry at the Salvation Army where we teach. He's become quite insistant about it, too, saying he and I should come to the dojo jewelry-free to "be the example" for the students. Now I'm all for setting the standard, but I'm not sure how I feel about this new "no jewelry" rule - although it has less to do with my studs than you think. (No, really!)
Think about it for a minute - if the crap ever really goes down and I'm not exiting the shower, on the treadmill or in the dojo, I'm probably going to be wearing a watch, a bangle bracelet, a necklace and a belt because I put all of those things on everyday when I get dressed. I don't think any adversary will allow me a few moments to remove my hoops and watch before he or she attacks, right? So, maybe it isn't that horrible a thing to know how to move around with all that stuff on. I'm just sayin'...
But I've said the same thing about shoes and pencil skirts - "girl clothes" if you will - as well. I want to know how to throw a mae geri with a Timberland boot and a heavy parka on just in case a situation has to be handled as I'm trudging to my car in the snow (I do live in a place where that could actually happen as our winter wonderland season lasts from November through March; heck, we've even had snow storms in April). Why should jewelry be any different?
Japanese culture and etiquitte aside, our feet are shoeless and arms/necks unadorned on the mat to keep from hurting our dojo mates and instructors, although keeping from hurting ourselves is part of it, too. But if the three broken and one dislocated toe I've managed to hobble away on in the past few years is any indication, being barefoot can be just as bad, I think.
Trust and believe, I'm not going to class in a big medalion or gargantuan hoops - just like I wouldn't fall in with a pair of Stilettos or a mini-skirt on. But there has to be a happy medium somewhere as far as realism in training goes, right?
Posted by Felicia