We do a lot of partner work in karate class and it got me to thinking, what does being a good karate partner teach me about being a good marriage partner?
Be generous with the do overs
Karate: Last night I was working with a lady who is still getting used to the way you position your hands for certain self defense moves. If she made a mistake I’d call a do over and let her try again. I gave up a couple of my turns so that she could do the moves over and over and remember the feel of them. I did not keep count of how many times she had tried versus how many time I had because there was no score keeping, we were both working towards the same goal of learning a self defense manoeuvre. She needed the do overs more than I did, so I gave them to her.
Marriage: My husband has given me 15 years of Keeping The House Tidy do overs. It has saved us. And no, I still do not have the hang of it.
Don’t keep score
Karate: There are times in karate when you want to keep score, like when you are practicing for a competition or actually competing. Those might be scores you remember, but all other times when you get scored on in class the only thing you need to remember is the lesson you learned from it, like if I let my hands drop I will get hit in the head.
Marriage: It’s not a competition and if you are treating it like one you are not doing it right. Because it is not a competition, there is no need to keep score.
Sometimes you have to reach for an opening
Karate: I also got to spar last night and I had a partner who is 6’3” at least. His hips were mid torso level on me. The drill was to find the spot on your partner’s body or head that was open when they were in their regular fighting stance, and then land a kick on that spot. I could see the open spot on my partner, but I had to cover a lot of distance and still stretch to get there. My partner’s job was to take down some of his defenses and not block my kick.
Marriage: I think the karate drill / marriage analogy works for both partners on this one. Sometimes you have to really try to reach for an opening with your life partner, especially when you are both getting bogged down – and maybe a little grouchy – with all the mundane activities life requires. If your mate is reaching out and trying to connect with you, don’t block them, let them in, you’ll both benefit and you may even, ahem, score.
Karate: Enduring a karate class with someone who has either not showered for days (weeks?), or has not washed their t-shirt and/or gi is awful. My nose still thinks I’m pregnant and is constantly on high alert, making b.o. that much more unbearable. There are many creatures in nature that use stink as a self defense mechanism, but that is not part of our dojo’s curriculum, so please shower regularly and keep your workout clothes clean.
Marriage: Do I need to explain this? I don’t think I do.