Last night was a particularly crazy night at the dojo. I arrived early so I could get an extra hour and a half’s practise in, so did my warm up and joined the kids class (there are other adults and older students who do this, so it’s not as bonkers as it sounds – indeed it’s one of the pleasures of training here, where the classes are commonly mixed like this). A group of the younger children, who I would guess are about five, have figured out that the hen na gaijin quite likes to play about, a realisation that culminated with three kids simultaneously jumping on my back, hanging onto my hands and punching me in the stomach. Whilst it’s good fun, and lets me indulge the playful streak that I can’t at school, I’m conscious of being a big distraction so after a few minutes of play tried to encourage them to practise seriously. Of course this didn’t work, so I ran away and hid and let the older Japanese kids calm them down. Yes, I’m really bad influence on children, and I advise you not to let me near yours. Not unless you want them wound up to levels verging on hysteria.