In the Fatima Jinnah Park
I went to the F-10 park Megazone last night for a bowling session with a colleague. It’s always good to have a little recreation when you’re stressed out and have things in your head which keep pinching you from time to time.
It wasn’t the first time I was going there, so I had a wee bit of experience in rolling that heavy ball down the alley, and hence was confident that I would be able to get a few spares or, if I were lucky, full strike outs. Although there were quite a lot of cars in the parking lot, relatively fewer people could be seen inside Megazone, which is surprising actually because I cannot imagine people having a fun time walking around in this humid weather in the park! But it wasn’t as cool as it should be in Megazone too, probably because of the fact that they’re not entirely running their systems on generators or other energy saving/generating devices.
But before me and my partner started our bowling session, I spent some time looking at a group of little children in sparkling white uniforms and belts of various colors around their waists running about in circles, kicking soft pads, and jumping through rings of fire! Oh yes, these were little karatekas training to become warriors, to get fit, or just to have a good time. All their movements were properly coordinated and they moved in synchrony on their instructors commands. What I loved most about the entire scene was the way they came running towards their instructor when they were called, bowed obediently all together and shouted “Osu”, and then got in the fighting ready stance with their feet shoulder width apart and their fist lowered in front of them. Seeing such discipline and coordination in little children whom one usually expects to NOT listen to whatever their elders have to say was very satisfying.
Here’s a picture of the kids standing in a line and kicking a soft pad which their instructor is holding. It’s obvious that I had to keep my distance to avoid getting hit by those powerful blows:
After their kicking and punching and kata session was over, it was time for them to practice extra skills. First their instructors made them jump through a metallic ring with a mattress in front of it for them to safely land on. Then they put the ring on fire and made the kids jump through it! Here’s a picture of one of them preparing to jump through the firey ring. A bit blurry, but I guess you can see what’s going on:
I talked to one of the junior instructors about what art they were teaching. He wasn’t familiar with most of the ‘technical’ karate terms I was talking about, so I asked him in plain Urdu. He told me that their head instructor was a 3rd Dan in Shotokan, a popular form of karate being taught in our country. Karate types like Shotokan stress on repetition, practice, and the importance of kata (a series of movements which are thought of as an encyclopedia of combat). A few older people were there practicing too, but the class was largely dominated by children.
For most people, martial arts are mostly about kicking and punching and maiming your opponent in a variety of clever ways. But above all, it is all about discipline, compassion, patience, balance, harmony, and peace. Teaching your children these important things can be the most valuable gift you can give to your child. So I would definitely encourage sending your children to a good martial arts school in the city. And I would love to see more of these sprouting up in the capital.