Each week, while working toward my shodan grading in Judo, Dave and I have been going to a local park just to walk through the kata. The walk is strange and awkward to me, but a necessary evil. I walk up to him, he grasps my sleeve and lapel and proceeds to push me to the point where I throw him. This is performed first from the right side and then the left.
Since the walk is so stilted and both partners have equal numbers of steps, etc., someone looking on should realize that this is a routine of some kind, even if the person knows nothing of the kata in martial arts.
It had rained right before we went to the park last week, so we began the walk-through on the asphalt near the hoops. I noticed a police car on the street at the other side of the park and mentioned it to Dave. The car then drove around the park (it’s really a large school yard with a dirt track and playground) and then back again. All the while, we continued to walk through the kata, just short of doing the throws.
After another drive-by, the officer parked his cruiser in the school parking lot and casually sauntered over, with a, “Hi, folks. Everything OK?” We stopped our kata practice and began to walk toward him, saying that everything was fine. He then mentioned the shoving and pushing that he’d seen and that he’d been concerned. When I laughed and replied that we were doing a judo kata, he immediately looked abashed and said,”Oh, oh! Carry on!” He explained his concern again, but beat a hasty retreat, not without hanging about in his car for another ten minutes or so.
We wondered if he had had to call in that he was investigating the pushing and shoving and then again to explain what the result of the investigation was. A bit embarrassing.
If he had known anything about the judo kata, he would have known that I was doing the throwing of the big guy, not the other way around.
Dave still can’t get over the fact that a police officer came to question us when we were doing relatively innocent movements. When he and his cousin, Chris, got involved in judo twenty years ago, they did all manner of crazy stuff: built home-made weapons and body armour, went to a park by Chris’s house and bashed each other about the head and shoulders to test their skills and the armour, shot arrows at each other to see if they could either catch them (Dave) or deflect them (Chris), filmed a home-made medieval martial arts movie in the park with friends, chasing and “killing” the bad guy. In ALL the antics of those two, no one ever called the police and they were never stopped by anyone, or quizzed for that matter.
A walk-through of the judo kata in a public park in full view of the neighbouring houses is quite innocent in comparison. It made our day.
June 16, 2009