Crumpling a sodden, stiff japanese-cut gi into the washing machine for the third time in a week can bring it home to you how much karate can take over every aspect of your life. The last time I wore these karate-tinted goggles through which to view the world it was 1990 and I was training the sharp, steep slope to my Shodan grading.
Now, 21 years on, I find myself practicing shuto in front of all reflective surfaces, looking down to see how parallel my feet are when cooking, and having to wear my dojo-time knee-braces under my suit at work. Why? Because this Saturday is England team selection and Sunday is Aiwakai Nationals - who the hell thought up that timetable?
To add to the pressure and due to a problem with numbers, I'm now filling in a place in the pairs kata so having to re-adjust timing and height positions to compromise with my new partner for Godan, bassai and wanshu.
If my brain or knees explode in the next couple of days, hey, it was nice knowing you.