Today, I took a private lesson at the United Studios of Self Defense Oceanside school as the start of a free 2-week trial. I've been needing to get myself back involved in martial arts of some sort to increase my activity level and give me something else to do. We'll want to get Derrick back to, but we may wait a week or so, even if it costs us having to buy his Gi.
Of course the ideal would have been to find a National Karate school, but since they are all in the Chicago suburbs (4 schools in an east-west line from Elk Grove to South Elgin), a Milwaukee suburb and Minnesota, I knew that wasn't an option. Of the schools in the area that I could get advanced information on (i.e. had useful websites) they had the advantage of being a national chain with a large regional presence and their art looked sufficiently similar, even though it is Kempo based rather than Karate based with a fair amount of Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing and a few other arts thrown in. I'll admit that the fact that the web site for the Oceanside dojo had an Ichthys (as does the door to the location) helped influence my decision.
The lesson went well, and I know that there are a few things I'm going to have to get used to: doing most of the basic moves from a horse stance instead of a fighting stance, the names of some of the very similar techniques, and putting the belt on kneeling inside the dojo rather than before arriving, among others. Oh, and calling the place a dojo instead of the English translation "school."
I'll go back on Monday and Wednesday for the next couple of weeks and then decide if this is the place for me or not. We may try to get Derrick in sometime next week (I'll talk to them on Monday).
One irony is that I got an e-mail this morning reminding people that the National Karate Chicago schools are having their Black Belt exam this evening in Schaumburg. Had we not moved, we probably would have been there. I probably wouldn't have been testing since I don't think I could have gotten in enough classes between late July and September, but I might have been someone's partner or just a spectator. But, I very well could have been testing in June -- which would have taken me away from DucKon for a lot of Saturday.
Back in late October, I agreed to help do graphics for our new church, New Venture Christian Fellowship. However, it has taken until the end of this month -- January 31 and February 1 to be specific -- to schedule me for training. However, I suspect that once trained, they'll want me regularly. Again, I know that there will be differences, but mostly due to a different program (Media Shout instead of Easy Worship) and a slight difference in the expectations of the lyric presentation (NVCF tends to put all lyrics on the screen, even during solos, WBC would only send solos to the confidence monitors for the singers up front). Not having a traditional service, and having one of the three services on Saturday night will also be a difference, but those are more minor.
A couple of days before leaving the Chicago area, robot_grrl and I had dinner with lonotter and dracos666 at the Palatine Famous Dave's. One reason that we chose Famous Dave's (besides being in Palatine close to the Winsauers and where we had to go to pick up a U-Haul trailer) was that it was one of our favorite places in the Chicago area (even if we've eaten more at the Rockford location than any of the Chicagoland locations in the last few years) and their website seemed to show that the two closest were in El Centro and Long Beach -- each about 80 miles from home. However, shortly after getting here, we discovered one in Vista, actually closer to us now than any of the Chicago area locations were to us in Bartlett -- at least after the Streamwood location had closed.
This morning, Tara suggested that we go there for an early lunch. So, before my 1:15 appoint at USSD, we drove to Vista and had lunch there. There are still a few other chains that we haven't been back to that we liked -- and we haven't found a real Chicago pizza (even the Pizzeria Uno at Fashion Valley is only a reasonable facsimile of what we're used to), but we're glad to be able to have Famous Dave's once in a while.