I'm a Crazy Ultrarunner, and It's Sensei Chinen's Fault
Just the other day, I was thinking about why I love running long distances or enduring a challenging workout, so much. Part of my "work ethic" I was born with. The other part came from being around my dad and knowing both of my grandfathers, and how much they valued and practiced hard work.
But regarding my athletic pursuits, I have Sensei Teruo Chinen to blame. He taught me that I can go WAY BEYOND what I think I can do. He had (and still has) a knack for knowing just how hard to push his students, without breaking them.
I still remember the long Saturday morning dojo workouts, or the workouts during "Hell Week." I swear, they were harder than ANY 100-mile trail race that I've ever run. I was in such incredibly good shape back then, (and didn't even realize it). Many of us students would go to his house after an especially hard workout, and we would help him with a few "tasks" around his property, and then have a great meal and an impromptu party.
Alas, after a few years, I decided that I wanted to check out other martial arts. In the course of a decade, I practiced a number of arts, but all of the instructors paled in comparison to Sensei's intensity.
The style of martial art that Sensei taught was Gojo Ryu karate, combined with a good working knowledge of Aikido and Judo techniques. Basically, it was very good close-in street-fighting technique. (And we practised our Judo falls on real-world surfaces, not on cushy Judo mats). "There are no mats on the street," he would say.
No other style that I have taken subsequently has come close to its "real world" self-defense capability, save maybe Krav Maga. One time, 3 of us students went to check out the local "full-contact" karate, jujitsu, and boxing studio (where all of the cops went to practice). We each had our shot in the ring, but all three of us ended up being disqualified for various infractions. (We didn't know that they had strict rules in their "real world" fighting style). I was DQ'd for lifting a guy off of his feet by his groin, with a nice, swift kick.
Sensei Chinen taught me many other things besides self defense. I learned never to underestimate anyone, especially myself. He taught me to respect others, especially those that are more experienced in life. He taught me when to keep my big mouth shut. Heck, he even taught me how to "party" responsibly and stay out of "tenuous situations" that could get me in trouble.
I find ways to enjoy life as much as I can. Also, life's too short to treat people poorly.
I'm into long runs in the park, consuming salt, popping blisters,
eating roadkill & tree bark, and burying whiners in shallow, unmarked
graves. I also enjoy designing trail race courses that would make the
Marquis de Sade blush.
A fun time for me would include banging muddy shoes together, setting
broken bones with a machinist's vise, and duct-taping-down any part of my
body that is bleeding or just flopping-about uselessly.
What helps me to be an active trailrunner and grandpa?
1) Daily sponge baths with bovine stem cells;
2) Copious amounts of delicious & nutritious homebrewed beer; and
3) My secret elixir...Bicarbonate of Figleaf.