Learn something new, just for kicks | Darcy Brixey | Required Reading

Darcy Brixey - Courtesy photo
Darcy Brixey
— image credit: Courtesy photo


I recently started a karate class. I felt confident that if my young son could learn the techniques and commands, I could, too. I didn’t consider the fact that he’s used to learning every day and somewhere along the line, I forgot to try new things.

When you watch someone who has dedicated years to a skill, they always make it look easy. Like drumming or playing bagpipes. Like karate. It’s never as easy when you try it yourself but always humbling to try.

It’s disorienting to hear commands in Japanese and to make my body move in ways it rebels against. I have no balance, my kicks are too low, and wish I didn’t have to see myself in the mirror trying to control my noodle legs.

My joints are stiff, my arms are weak and I look like an idiot. I’m sure that Sensei goes to his office after class to laugh, maybe even cry. I try hard. Often I fail, which makes me want to try again. Still, I return each week looking forward to learning something new.

Kaizen is the idea of constant improvement or a change for the better. The King County Library System subscribes to an online database called Universal Class, which is dedicated to helping you learn something new or make a change for the better. Courses vary from bartending/mixology (yes, really!) to behavioral sciences and algebra to chakra clearing.

If you are shy or easily embarrassed, a classroom setting may not be the right place for you. The online courses of study on Universal Class are authored and taught by experts in the field who give you feedback after each self-paced lesson. Most courses are around 10 hours of online class time and they are free.

You can find Universal Class by visiting the KCLS database page at www.kcls.org/databases. It is listed under the heading labeled Careers and Education. Log in using your library card number and PIN. Once you have set up an account with a log on and password and you will be ready to learn.

By immersing ourselves in a new skill or idea, we can attain constant personal improvement. Try it out today. Even if you aren’t brave enough for karate, there is a class inside the database perfect for you. Learn something new, even if it’s just for kicks.

Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. She’d like to tell you she loves to read, but it’s an expectation of the job.

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