Queer Jews and Karate

2007 SF Gay Pride Parade

A couple of weeks ago, I was wondering when my life would be back to normal. This past weekend, it bulldozed past normal and entered into surreality. Friday night I was still my regular self. Karen went to the dyke march and then out dancing at Mango with Lorena and Tess, and I stayed home because I didn’t want to be around so many people.

On Sunday, the day of the pride parade, I decided that I wanted to go. Not just go. I wanted to MARCH IN THE PARADE with our temple (or at least what might be our temple if we ever get around to checking it out more). I had a good time. It is actually less crowded in the parade than watching it from the sidelines. There was this Jewish youth group in front of us that were all wearing bright orange shirts. Fresh squeezed orange jews. Sorry, I tried not to write that, but I couldn’t resist. Every time the parade stopped, they would perform a same sex jewish wedding under a rainbow flag chuppah, smash a plastic cup wrapped in a napkin, and then run around in circles singing. Made me happy.

Gay Jewish Wedding

I was the sole member of the queer autistic jew contingent. I was wearing my autistic planet t-shirt to create some queer autistic visibility. Not exactly sure why, but it is San Francisco and every other subcategory of subcategory is represented. Seems appropriate that it was a contingent of one.

After the parade, K and I went into the crowd to find some food and try to meet Lorena and Tess. In the crowd, I reverted to my normal self and started gradually getting overwhelmed until I couldn’t think at all. We walked all the way to 16th St. and Mission BART so that we could get a seat before it got totally crowded at Civic Center. We were completely spent by the time we got back home and took a nap for a couple of hours. It was great! It is very rare that I can take naps during the day.

Last night, I went back to Cuong Nhu class for the first time since before my medicine hell started. I was kind of scared because there is a lot to process there and other people and instructions. Sensei Amy had told me that I can take it slow and do stuff by myself. I had thought I might just go and watch, but even before I left the house, I realized that there was no chance that I was going to enter that dojo and not kick something! I like to kick things. I kicked air 🙂

It was nice to see everybody. There was a new white belt that I had never met before and two of our white belts had become green belts. Color belts are especially exciting in Cuong Nhu because there are only 4 of them until 5th degree black belt. White, green, brown, and black. In between, there are 2 stripes of the next color belt sewed onto your current belt. I think I am permanently stuck at one black stripe, but I don’t even care. At least last night I didn’t. I was so happy to be back there.

I was able to do more than I thought I would. I knew I would remember basic techniques and kata because I have been doing them for over 10 years and they are beyond the part of my brain that has to think. I start forgetting moves about half way through the more advanced katas, but I will probably remember after practicing a few times. The part that surprised me was that I could actually participate in the group as long as we were doing separate things.

During the first part of class, we did drills up and down the dojo where each rank gets a different set of moves to do. I was in my own group even though Rosanne is a brown belt too. There was no way I could follow the instructions she was getting. Long series of moves. Sensei Amy was very kind to me and kept mine to 3 moves or less. I think that was about my maximum memory span. I am not sure how she knew that too. After that, we did kata and I practiced the basic ones. The rest are for next time I think.

About 15 minutes before the water break, my brain was starting to crap out. I started forgetting moves to a kata that I had just done three times in a row without a problem. I got very confused about directions and couldn’t focus at all. I would forget what I was doing in between moves. I thought about leaving, but I knew we were having a break soon, so I stayed. I considered staying after the break. People were practicing self defense techniques and I was going to practice something by myself, but everything was too confusing. I decided to leave while I was still able to drive home.

By the time I got home, I couldn’t think at all, but I didn’t really care.

3 thoughts on “Queer Jews and Karate”

  1. Woo hoo! I have one big boob! 😉 hee hee. i’m so proud of you sweetheart! you walked in a parade and went to karate – yay you!

  2. “a contingent of one”
    but without you, there would’ve been zero.
    Knowing when you’re headed for total meltdown has to be helpful. Continuing on, pushing yourself a little further, is admirable, but knowing when to stop is too.


Leave a Comment