Learning the Hard Way

Pretty in Purple

Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

Coordination is not one of my stronger qualities. I’m right-handed in just about everything, and when I have to reverse things, I tend to get klutzy.

Tuesday night’s karate class reinforced that. We’re learning something called Ippon Kumite Kata #1, a simple set of moves to defend against and respond to a right or left punch. I’ve seen and done the right-punch attack, which means responses with right punches and kicks.

But then we reversed it to defend against and respond to a left punch, and I got all discombobulated. I thought I had it down, but when I squared off against another student I confused myself and kicked with my left leg instead of my right. What should have been a right front kick to his groin became a left front kick to his right knee.

His knee which was bunched up and bent into a front stance, so much harder than if he were standing straight. The result is the photo you see above.

I didn’t break anything, but I think my pride hurt more than my foot. It was a little swollen that night, and Wednesday morning there was some purple around the knuckles. Sometime during the day, though, the pockets of swelling broke and when I took my shoe and sock off in the evening I found the nice purple designs in the pic.

No swelling, only slight pain, but lots of pretty, pretty purple.

As you might imagine, I’ve been practicing the shit out of Ippon #1 from both sides so this doesn’t happen again.

Addendum: Several folks have asked about the other guy’s knee. He’s fine. In fact, the kick hardly fazed him. In a front stance, your front knee is bent and most of your weight is leaned onto that leg. My kick was right in line with his thigh, too, so his knee had all kinds of bracing behind it. I may as well have kicked a wall.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. […] Chief Instructor of the Dawsonville Martial Arts Center in Georgia, just sent me an email about my “Learning the Hard Way” post featuring my bruised foot. Mr. Forrester, a 3rd Dan in Shuri-Ryu, had just trained with Hanshi […]

  2. Suter says:

    Dude, you should keep those pics to yourself!!! LOL. That’s what you get for getting in a hurry leaving the feast.

    Take care,

  3. Mike says:

    Ha! I hadn’t thought of it that way.

    I’ll have to remember that when I leave the TG Golf Outing. ;)